Several American soldiers are walking through an airport terminal with tired, confused, and sad expressions etched into their faces, when a young lady stands proudly and brings her hands together in slow applause that is rippled by others and crescendos in a standing ovation by everyone in the terminal. The soldiers appear to struggle with a feeling of relief, happiness or just a release of emotional exhaustion. Just before leaving the terminal one soldier looks back and smiles. It’s an awkward smile. This was an advertisement aired during the 39th Super Bowl Game on Fox as a tribute to our soldiers in Iraq.
While watching that advertisement I began to think of peace. There are several understandings of the word peace, but the most important are the kind of peace that offers us security, a world where there is stability, consistency, a world devoid of war or hostility, and, then there is peace of mind. Peace of mind eradicates stress, and creates an inner harmony that allows us to tolerate and accept the day to day obstacles of life. Without peace of mind, no amount of security or stability will bring comfort. Not to an individual, country or a world. It is the lack of this peace of mind that is at the root of atrocities that has plagued our nation. We know these atrocities by the names of serial murderers, serial rapists, leaders turned child abusers and so many other names.
These thoughts brought tears to my eyes as I fought to hold on to a belief that the sacrificing of peace of mind for the stability of a world at peace will eventually bring about a place where we can find peace of mind. I sought solace in the idea that many must suffer for all to benefit. Yet the faces, recently portrayed on the television, had stirred deeply in the pot of this belief and brought back to mind the words of a very famous peacemaker, President Dwight Eisenhower, who stated that “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life a t all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
In 1953, when these words were uttered, peace had only one mean, a world without war. Today, terrorists have taken the place of nuclear threat, and savvy politicians building economic nations have taken the place of idealists building a place for people to live. Regardless, there cannot be many that will deny that a world without Saddam Hussein is not a safer world, a world with more peace. So, I wipe my tears and say to myself, well at least they are not calling our soldiers murderers upon their return as they did during the Vietnam War, and a least we had a somewhat clear goal by going into Iraq that has become a very clear goal of bringing democracy to the middle east. An idea that is becoming more popular along the lines of “if they won’ t join us then beat them.” I mean, even Eisenhower also declared, “We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it.”
By Gary Thoulouis