Not because I value violence, strife, or destruction.
In fact, my intentions could not be further from glorifying war.
As a young man, I was fascinated by war, death, and destruction as are many of today’s youngsters.
Given this reality, I see a few choices:
1. Pretend like war and violence don’t exist or that somehow humanity has outgrown them.
2. Try to squelch or redirect their curiosity before it gains momentum.
3. Meet and encourage their curiosity, fulfilling it with the true, beautiful writings of educated, thoughtful writers caught in the horrors of war themselves.
By looking the realities in the face, the curiosity can be met, encouraged, fulfilled, and left edified by interacting with sensitive, intelligent humans who, resting in a muddy dugout between fire fights pulled pen and paper from their pockets and began to write as a way of bearing witness to and beginning to make sense of their experiences.
Far from the detached, meaningless violence so many of our young see in the media (movies, television, and games), we will seek to meet the curious where their interest lies and open their hearts to a deeper understanding of humanity, conflict, and themselves.
Trench DutyShaken from sleep, and numbed and scarce awake,Out in the trench with three hours’ watch to take,I blunder through the splashing mirk; and thenHear the gruff muttering voices of the menCrouching in cabins candle-chinked with light.Hark! There’s the big bombardment on our rightRumbling and bumping; and the dark’s a glareOf flickering horror in the sectors whereWe raid the Boche*; men waiting, stiff and chilled,Or crawling on their bellies through the wire.‘What? Stretcher-bearers wanted? Some one killed?’Five minutes ago I heard a sniper fire:Why did he do it? … Starlight overhead—Blank stars. I’m wide-awake; and some chap’s dead.Siegfried Sassoon