As I walked out of church this Memorial Day weekend, there was a moving presentation on our parish lawn called “Eyes Wide Open: An Exhibit on the Human Cost of War.” The Eyes Wide Open exhibit began in Chicago in 2004 by a Quaker peace movement and now has exhibits in many states and cities. There on our parish lawn were over 100 pairs of combat boots with the names of Virginian’s who have been killed in the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars, in addition there were everyday shoes representing the Afghani and Iraqi civilians who have lost their lives. It is a moving tribute to these men and women who gave their lives for our country and a tribute to the civilians who have also lost their lives. God Bless them all on this Memorial Day.
The cost of war to our country in human life and money has been great. In Iraq alone the US has lost over 4,400 troops, and 32,000 with injuries. In Afghanistan, we have lost over 1,500 troops, and over 10,000 with injuries, and there are hundreds more to mention with our coalition countries, but much of the burden has been with the American troops. At present, two hundred and thirty three Virginians have died while serving in the global war on terrorism.
I am also praying for the many troops and civilians who have come back with the wounds of war. My brother, Joe, is a psychiatrist with the U.S. Navy, and has served two tours in Iraq and one in Kuwait, to help with the many suffering the mental wounds of war. My brother Joe continues to serve the military and their families in the Tidewater Region of Virginia, and I am proud of his service and that he is rising to the rank of Captain this Fall. The people helping our troops with recovery at home and abroad are overburdened and need your help and prayers. Please consider contributing your time, money, and prayers to this worthy cause this weekend and throughout the year. Your comments and tributes to heroes from these wars are welcome. Have you or someone you’ve known been affected by the wars in the Middle East?
Prayer in Time of War: (from Archdiocese of Military Services website)
God our Father,
Maker and lover of peace,
To know you is to live,
And to serve you is to reign.
All our faith is in your saving help;
Protect us from men of violence
And keep us safe from weapons of hate.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.