So last weekend, we went to check out the places where we'll have the book club discussion that I will be moderating. After, we decided to drop by the American Cemetery, which is located just at the heart of the metro, an open field of lush green and marble crosses that mark the resting places of American soldiers during the Second World War.
This got me to thinking of all the books -- fiction and nonfiction -- that I've read about war. I've read Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner -- novels that are beautifully written and show how the war affects soldiers and citizens. I've also read Keegan's brilliant nonfiction books about war.
I've enjoyed these books and they provided me with insight on the reasons we go to war, regardless whether these reasons make sense or not. But I wasn't prepared for the feeling I would get during our visit to the American cemetery. Just looking at those rows and rows of marble crosses makes you question why we still go to war.
These soldiers were never even buried in their home country. Some of them are still even identified. Just walking along these rows feels heartbreaking. And these memorial structures don't even include those who have never been found after the war. Their names were simply engraved on the walls of the central building of the cemetery.
There were also several names of Filipinos who died fighting during that great war with their American counterparts. I was even reminded of my grandfather, who was a war veteran. He was one of the lucky ones -- he got to live and raise his family even after that terrible period.
We'll forever be grateful to these people who have unwillingly gave their lives. It is up to us, the present generation, to make sure that they didn't end their lives in vain.
I'm happy that I was able to visit the American Cemetery. I've always passed by that area and never really thought about visiting. That detour made me realize that reading about war is one thing, and that seeing the effects of it is another probably more important thing.
Again, thanks R for taking these beautiful pictures, and for suggesting that we visit this place.