Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

World War One.

Edinburgh grandson, Leon. He has his father's cheeky smile.

There has been a lot of media attention on the fact that it is 100 years since the beginning of World War One. I looked at the statistics for this "War to end all wars." Here are some....

  • In total there were 37 Million people killed or injured.... that is 37 MILLION!... that is massive!
  • I have read a figure of 8.5 million killed.
  • 68 million troops were in the field.
  • New Zealand where the population was about 1.1 Million sent 100,444 troops.
  • 18,000 of those were killed. 41,317 were injured. If you were a New Zealand soldier in WW1 you had a greater than 1 in 2 chance of being killed or maimed.
They are astounding figures! All those people killed, all those families losing loved ones, all that misery and too, all that expense!  There has been ongoing consequences of that war leading to unrest in various parts of the globe even to this day.
The thing that gets me.... where were the people who would just ask "What the hell are we doing?" "Why?" "This is stupid!" or "There has got to be a better way!" It seems like the people who said that were labeled "cowards" "Unpatriotic" and some were shot!
And we still make the same mistakes today! ...... STUPID! TRAGIC!
On ANZAC day...
I worry that sometimes the way that we remember our soldiers of the past and those who died, ends up glorifying war. Here is how I believe we need to do our remembering....
- We need to "remember them" but also be ready to question the reasoning that leads to war. Encourage and renew our dedication to finding alternatives to  war and violence to deal with the political, cultural and ethnic differences in our world.
- We need to be ready to give ourselves to create healthy caring communities, not just remember the sacrifice of others.  In our communities there are people, needs and issues crying out for volunteers, generous givers and people who care. It has been well said that "All that is needed for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing."  Remember the sacrifice of our service men and women, but ask ourselves where we in our time can play our part to make a better world.   

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