All the years he could speak, my father never failed to say on this date, “At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the killing stopped.”
He was a decorated veteran of the Great War, “the war to end all wars,” World War I, and the day we now call Veterans Day meant a great deal to him.
I now understand that he was carrying terrors from his service in France deep within himself. Unlike the wounds to his body (from which he spent the better part of a year after the Armistice in England recuperating), the wounds to his soul were never healed.
Ours is still a world at war. There is never a time war is not going on somewhere, and usually in several places at the same time.
I wish I could say I am a pacifist–that I truly follow my Lord Jesus in forsaking all killing. I cannot, at least yet, do that.
But I do mourn all those who have been killed, and those who did the killing–even people like John A. Muhammad who was executed last night, as well as his victims–because in some way I understand that in some way each killing–whether by individuals or by the state, whether legal or illegal–diminishes our common humanity.
May they all rest in peace.