I used to play in the sandbox with my toy army men when I was a child. The sandbox was a great place to use your imagination and play with your friends, as long as you kept the cats out!
Civilizations rose and fell, armies conquered and history was made. We even occasionally flooded the sandbox, which had dire consequences for all concerned (mom was not too happy with how messy we got). It was great being a kid and fighting against enemies- historical or made up. No harm, no foul. All walked away unscathed and in good spirits. Plastic army men are easily resurrected and feelings are seldom hurt.
Now that I am an adult, I have put away the sandbox. Now it is tabletop gaming. Battles are still fought, no real person dies and feelings might be hurt, but gotten over quickly.
But in real life, this is not so. Violence, death, and destruction are all too real. As an adult, I know this to be true, but it still seems like folks still think human beings are easily expendable.
The United States is still at war in Afghanistan. Soldiers and civilians, especially children, are dying in war zones all over the world! Citizens of this country, and those countries far away from our borders. What is sad is that we seem to have gotten immune to death and destruction.
In the sandbox, we just picked up our toy army men, brushed them off and set them to do combat all over again. In the real world, we all know that this is not how it works. But it seems we have hardened our hearts to the harsh reality of warfare in modern times. I want you to know that I am not a pacifist, but when I see how casually people accept the death and destruction that is happening in Syria, Gaza, Yemen and other nations throughout the Middle East, I am truly heartsick.
The United States just set a record for arms sales to other countries. Apparently, war, death, and destruction are good for the economy, not so good for human beings, families or children.
I do not write this to put a guilt trip on us. I write this to remind folks that war is not a video game or playtime in the sandbox. War is hell, mostly for the non-combatants. Are we going to be a people who profit from war or a nation that remembers the cost of war?
Thirty days from now we are going to celebrate Veteran’s Day. It is important that we remember the sacrifice of many of our nation’s men and women. It is also the 100th anniversary of World War I, the Great War, the War to end all Wars. Not so much. We should honor both the fallen and those who came back. We should not forget those who did not fight or desired war but paid a very high price and still do.