They Shall Not Grow Old ... And They Should Have
I'm not much of a believer; at least not in the large god I was raised with. As BB has said, I can't comprehend a god that is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipowerful. Such an entity is beyond me.
But I can believe in smaller gods. Perhaps they are the understandable avatars of that which I can't comprehend and therefore can't believe in or worship.
Humanity seems to believe in the smaller gods as well. I'm particularly reminded of this on Remembrance Day. The god of battle, after all, has been invoked from time immemorial, a god that worshippers believe can be what powers their victories and forgives their atrocities, those against others and those against themselves as they are required to kill and die.
Sometimes battle is necessary, as it was in World War II, as it arguably was in the American Civil War. Far more often we wonder in retrospect whether battle was ever necessary, as in the First World War, or the Second Indo-Chinese War, or the two Gulf Wars. That's also true of the the wars about which we were never taught, but which nonetheless took place and killed the children of humanity.
One thing remains constant: the death, the killing, the bodies and minds broken and lost, the communities shattered, the world grown darker because of lives snuffed out.
So as a believer in the smaller gods, I turn from the god of battle to the gods of mercy and of kindness, and I make this invocation:
Let us not forget them, the soldiers and their families.
Let us not forget their sacrifice - in the multitudinous wars that burn across continents and generations, from Europe and the Americas to the ring of fire, India, and China - whether expected or unexpected, whether necessary or not.
Let us honor them.
Let us forgive them.
Let us not forget their victims.
Gods of mercy and of kindness, take them all, victims and perpetrators, some of whom are one and the same, into your bosoms and save them into your heavens, because no one deserves your hells; they have already experienced Hell.
In the name of kindness and mercy, mercy for which we should all beg,
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