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One Moment, Please... War wounds


Fri, Sep 27th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

By Jason Sethre

Publisher

Fillmore County Journal

Cell: 507-251-5297

jason@fillmorecountyjournal.com

It was a sobering experience. An opportunity to reflect on our past and our present. Attending the “Return of the Sword” ceremony on Saturday, September 21, 2013, at the Como Park Zoo and Conversatory made me think about how things were back when Orval Amdahl served as a Marine Captain during World War II versus the wars we wage today.

Born in the early 1900s, Orval lived through The Great Depression, far worse than our recent recession, and then went on to fight for his country against another country that had attacked our nation in 1941. There is a reason Orval is part of “The Greatest Generation.”

The presentation of the sword from Orval Amdahl to Tadahiro Motomura was more than a ceremony. This event reflected a time to start mending wounds and bring closure to a time when America and Japan were at war.

Some people, especially those of us not born prior to 1941, may not realize the significance of this ceremony. Our more recent references to war are quite different from what our nation’s people experienced in WWII.

In the years past, we went to war with other countries. We battled against Germany and Japan in World War II, and have since found ourselves at war in Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan -- just to name a few. Today, we fight wars against those who claim no homeland. The terrorists (our enemies) of today are domestic and foreign-born, and they are not tied to any geography.

And, while I would hope that we would have evolved as a human race since our many wars of the past, we continue to find ourselves at war with others. I guess we haven’t learned anything as a human race.

My guess is that 99 percent of the world’s population hopes for peace, yet there is a one-percent faction that continues to hold us hostage to war.

We see it in the news nearly every week. Last week, there was a massacre in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, where more than 50 people were murdered and hundreds were injured by a terrorist group. This can happen anywhere in the world. And, how we define war today can be as elusive as one man murdering vulnerable and innocent children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary or two brothers igniting homemade pressure cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon.

The sad truth is that war wounds last for generations yet to be born. Despite our history books telling us who won which war, there is never a winner. There are casualties, emotional and physical, on both sides.

What people see in times of war can never be erased; often only suppressed. War wounds have permanence beyond a single generation.

So, when Orval Amdahl met with Tadahiro Motomura on the International Day of Peace to present the samurai sword, a souvenir became an heirloom, and we began to find a little bit of peace with honor from a war that concluded more than 68 years ago.

If only we could find more peace.

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