Tuesday, November 4, 2008

War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

Plan to watch on Wednesday: Medal of Honor

From the time the first speaker at September's screening took the floor until we left the street with busloads of some of the 103 living recipients of the Medal of Honor, tears streamed down my face back in September when we saw the premier of the upcoming PBS documentary, "Medal of Honor."

Out of Ken Burns' production company comes another poignant personalization of American history. For me, the unfathomable position of serving in the military, let alone going to unbelievably compassionate lengths at the risk of your own life, makes many of these men--and a Dr. Elizabeth Walter from the Civil War--other-worldly to me in a different sense than as heroes.

Perhaps with a true insight to pacifist views, the filmmakers relate the accounts of actual pacificists and conscientious objectors who ended up serving, and being among some of the recipients, 60 of whom live in Colorado. Anyone who watches with a keen mind and bit of patriotism will be indignant that the rage against immigration goes on after countless soldiers have gone on to forego their own country for the sake of ours. The film profiles three immigrants who fought despite being imprisoned for their heritage, entering the country illegally, or facing discrimination right up unto the circumstances that brought him into the line of fire.

I cannot imagine ever being in these shoes, or asking someone else to be in a situation where they would be faced with these choices, yet nor can I imagine in any way the benefits of killing another human, freedoms be damned. Really. There are other ways. The benefits cannot be greater than these costs.

Airs November 5 on a PBS station near you.

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