Peace Flame mocked
As a baby boomer, I am certainly no centenarian, so my memories do not include either world war. However what I learned about Veterans Day has remained a strong memory and a lesson learned from my parents.
The Great War, as it was called then, ended with no meaningful victory. Instead, after a pointless, horrifying slaughter of the armies of both sides, the conflict abated in the Armistice. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, weapons were laid down and the destruction ceased. The people of Western Europe, Canada and the United States all paused to reflect at that singular moment. What was learned then was the sober lesson of the futility of war as an effective method to resolve inter-nation conflict.
George Santayana’s observation has been proven so true these past 100 years: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Simply consider Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, among others.
In my youth, this day was set apart, not as a holiday but as a sacred day. A moment to pause, yet again, to remember and reflect. Now, for those not enjoying a three-day recreation break, it is celebrated by honoring all veterans, and indeed their service was never trivial. However it also is used as a glorification and celebration of war. Now the irony has been fully completed here in Ashland. At the Thalden Pavilion in front of the World Peace Flame, this moment of celebration mocked the very flame they gathered in front of. Perhaps next year Ashland might opt for sober reflection of the horrors of war instead of the glories of it.
Sanctuary for wildlife
The lack of adequate food, water and habitat caused by drought and increasing human population have forced cougars and other wildlife into neighborhoods and towns. It is, therefore, encouraging to see media and public opinion respond to recent cougar sightings positively.
Confronted with mass species extinctions and ecosystem collapse, we are finally realizing what we have before it is entirely gone. Let’s take the next step — not just tolerate our furred, feathered and finned kin — but support them in their time of need. Let’s make our communities sanctuary cities for humans and animals.