Last night I listened to a new podcast for the first time. In the early parts of this episode the author was giving some personal updates on his life. One of the things he shared was that he had recently joined a society for the preservation of battlefields in the UK. As he was explaining this he gave a couple of reasons for why he would join this society it stirred a thought in my own mind. One of his reasons was that the preservation of battlefields was a benefit to his society by reminding them of the costs of war.
In the wars of history combat took place on a field of battle. It is possible to return to the sites of Gettysburg, the Somme, Normandy, Tours, and others. These places serve as reminders of the horrors of war and the causes of war. For those who take the time to pause and think memorials such as these can be extremely beneficial.
What about the wars of today? Where are the memorials? What are the reminders?
In the United States this next Sunday will be a significant reminder of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Yet what about the decade of war that has followed? Where are the reminders of those battles? What about the warfare in Sudan? Somalia? Afghanistan? Libya? Egypt? Syria?
What about the new age of war? Wars fought not by pitched armies on an open field but in streets and neighborhoods and with drones and computer viruses. How are we learning from these wars so that the conflicts they represent are not repeated by generations to come?