The Pity of War

 

This all happened a long time ago, and so the details are smudged—but it was a time of war, and some of the peoples of the world were killing and maiming each other with guns and bombs. With the leaders of both sides claiming that God was with them.

 

Well, one of the enemies was the crew-member of a bombing-plane that dropped a bomb on a certain city, and killed and maimed a record number of his country’s enemies, men and women and their children. And thus the war was won by his side, and peace was given a chance--for a while. Time passed.

 

The man (for reasons he didn’t understand) went on holiday to the now-rebuilt city he had once helped destroy and met an enemy of those years before--a beautiful young woman. They fell in love. He bore her back to his own country and, despite the bitter opposition of his family, they married. They settled down and soon had a child, a beautiful girl the image of her mother, and never a more happy family.

 

More years passed, and then, when the girl was 10, and almost 11, there came an anniversary of the war; the start, Great Victory, the end--does it matter? And there was this Big Celebration, which included a program on television that the three watched together--with pictures of that bombing-raid and the destruction rained in fire on that city. And the mother started to cry before the man could switch off the set, though it was already too late. Because the whole story came out that when the mother had been 10, and almost 11, she had been sheltering there in a cellar and watched her mother and father die--but she had never told him. And the man, choked with an emotion he now understood only too well, admitted to them that he had been a member of that bombing-run. And husband and wife cried in each other’s arms.

 

Asked their daughter, "Daddy, why did you try to kill Mummy when she was my age?"

 

Author: George Target

 

Note: Both sides loose during wartime. And guess who wins? Evil. Let us never forget that in this world we can win without war.