Today is Star Wars Day and tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo and sandwiched in between, from sunset to sunset, is Holocaust Remembrance Day. We are an odd bunch. We commemorate those who sacrificed their lives in war and, as if that isn’t enough, we invent make-believe wars and then commemorate them as well. And then we do it all over again — It must all be a genetic trait.
We really don’t need to make up war stories or invent enemies or heros. We have plenty to go around. There is very little of our scarred and sodden planet that is not sprinkled with blood.
We have always been fond of building earth and stone monuments to our dead heros or the fallen martyrs. War and battlefields bring out the builder in us. That helps us remember what we were — or what “they” were.
What happens when we run out of stone to build memorials? Will we put an end to the warfare? We have accepted the industrialization of killing as part of our being. That’s what we do even though we say “Never Again”.
We are nothing if not a resourceful kind of being. Look how far we’ve come. We used to throw rocks and sticks. We have come so far — now we can incinerate cities or surgically remove unwanted foes anonymously. Two million here, six million there….the shear numbers render it all impersonal and anonymous. No one person can be responsible. But then we go back to the earth and stone and build a memorial.
Sometimes we build war memorials and then tip-toe around them while we fight more wars generations later in the same place. It doesn’t seem to matter. Why do we even bother? We turn a blind eye to the past and stumble forward and do it all again. People blame this on religion or ideology or racism but it has to be some sort of genetic flaw.