“This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.”
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

On this Veterans Day, I will once again shed a tear for those who died in vain. While it may not be politically correct to say it aloud, not all who fight and die do so for a noble cause.

I will again think of my grandfather who stormed the beach at Normandy, France, on D-Day.
I will think of the thousands of white headstones I've witnessed at Arlington National Cemetery, perfectly aligned in tribute to those who died for the imperfection of others.
I will wonder still yet again why our politicians perpetually send our service men and women into undeclared and unnecessary combat.

I will do so by listening to "The Green Fields Of France" by the Dropkick Murphys. One of the most poignant songs I have ever heard about the folly of war. It is a song about a man observing a headstone of "Willy McBride" who died in in 1916 during World War I at the age of 19.

At its conclusion it asks:

"I can't help but wonder, oh Willy McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame,
The killing and dying was all done in vain.
Oh, Willy McBride it all happened again.
And again, and again, and again, and again..."

*WARNING* This fan-created video contains graphic images that may be disturbing to some. Then again, shouldn't war be disturbing to us?

On this Veterans Day 2016, I salute all of those who have served, whether voluntarily or by conscription.