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Memorial Day brings thoughts of peace

Memorial Day brings to mind an essay my late son, Stuart Bullion, wrote.

He was a veteran of both Vietnam and Desert Storm so he knew what it means to be a soldier and a veteran.

“In human history, there have been precious few true men and women of peace — Jesus, St. Francis, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr. …

“The number of true war mongers is equally small, from Genghis Khan to Napoleon to Hitler and Pol Pot. Between these two poles stand the generations and the multitudes of the rest of us, professing the words of peacemakers, yet too often abetting or partaking of violence to satisfy our greed or allay our fears.

“Pascal is but one of the moral philosophers who have shuddered in awe of the measureless duality of human nature, stretching from the satanic depths to the angelic heights. Indeed, he saw people as embodying at once two infinities — physical as well as moral — within the boundlessness of creation.

“Why do we speak of peace when armies rage against each other? Why do we speak of peace when the conditions of war prevail in our streets, in our schools and in our homes?  Our higher nature strives for reconciliation, while our baser nature succumbs to blood lust.

“Perhaps we should speak more of war, in all its forms, to help us see through its false allure. Perhaps we should speak of waging peace with all the passion and energy we have given to making war through the ages.”

Maralyn Howell Bullion

Oxford