• D. Randall Faro

Bad Friday

The Friday before Easter is known throughout the Christian world as Good Friday. It centers on death. Particularly the death on one man outside Jerusalem a couple of thousand years ago. Death is generally not seen as good, but there is one cause that is the height (or depth) of evil: war.


One who has never been in combat – or caught in a war zone as a civilian – cannot imagine what it is like. Watching all the movies and listening to all the stories available provides only a faint hint of what happens. And even if the hint is a strong one, it cannot begin to produce the emotions and trauma of actually being in the middle of it.


I don’t have to imagine. I was there. War slapped me full in the face when I served thirteen months as a U.S. Marine Corps engineer officer in Vietnam. I arrived in Phu Bai four months after the 1968 Tet offensive. Entering the once-beautiful coastal city of Hue, I saw a city in utter ruins with children (most probably orphans) scampering from garbage heap to garbage heap trying to find some food scraps while hoping to escape being caught in the ongoing crossfire. To repeat myself, you can understand the words just written. . . but you really cannot imagine.


In the Vietnam debacle 58,000+ Americans died, and another 300,000 were wounded, some 20,000 permanently disabled. Estimates for Vietnamese killed are 2-3 million.


Wars are not actually fought by the politicians who send men and women to kill and die. The great majority of those vote to go to war have never served in the military and will not have to participate themselves. They can pine and pray and agonize till the cows come home . . . they still cause mayhem and death on a cataclysmic scale.


While I realize that there are situations (Nazi Germany) where war appears to be the last resort . . . the key words are “last resort.” Humanity needs to abolish war as a way of settling problems or getting what one wants. In war zones, every Friday is a bad one. When everybody realizes that, it will truly be a good Friday.



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