Earlier this week my oldest daughter, her two sons (10 and 8), my granddaughter (almost 3), and I toured Fort Ticonderoga in New York. It was a bright, sun-filled day with a view of Lake Champlain from the fort ramparts that stirred one's love of beauty. But I was reminded that the soldiers who manned that fort in various sieges probably weren't thinking that way. They were hoping their muskets wouldn't misfire or that one of their shots might hit an unknown enemy, whether French, British, or American, since the fort was held by all three powers. We watched a group of smartly trained high schoolers, boys and girls, personify the American drum and fife corps. Their precision and dedication as well as their musicality was impressive, and they were obviously proud of their part in preserving the traditions of the fort.
But I couldn't help thinking of the original drum and fife corps who not only bravely announced the coming regiment but also ran messages behind lines and risked their lives on a daily basis. Most of these boys...and they were often small boys..... did not live to see the freedom they and their older compatriots fought for. And then my thoughts then moved to older boys, girls, men, and women who have been fighting, hurting, and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade. Somehow the comparison won't wash for many reasons. Let me be clear: I support
our troops, but I do not support these needless and wasteful wars. Not only have we lost lives but also family relationships. We are still spending billions of dollars on the most threadbare excuse for invasion..and that is what it is. We will not democratize Afghans. They don't want it, and they won't have it.
Yes, the boys who proudly marched and played their bugles, fifes, and drums stir the hearts of Americans today, some of whom still have the outmoded notion that war is necessary. Let us pray that they will stir us to a vision of peace like the one we see from Fort Ticonderoga, a calm, untrouble Lake Champlain