The cold gray concrete column rises from the promontory, standing like a sentinel, a reminder of our past, a warning about the future. It is a testament to truth, in a place that bares your soul; where you can not lie to yourself.
It commemorates the Great War. It has been a hundred years since the war to end all wars and in that time not a single day has passed when war has not raged on. Perhaps that is why this memorial is not festooned in red, white and blue - just a gray obelisk such that we might consider our actions in the cold, clear morning light rather in the intemperate world of shadows. It reminds us that words are all too easy and mask the reality of the fear, the hate, the dying. The black and white that once seemed clear bleeds away into the unending gray.
If we allow it to give us pause, to ignore the bravado, it might serve as a guide helping us consider the true costs of war: the maimed, the displaced, the orphaned, the grieving survivors; those endless fields of graves growing only headstones and hatred. That tower of concrete might bring us to consider another way, a way not predicated on the power of guns and bombs, not dependent on destroying those who are different, those we don't understand.
The wind blows cold across the dead winter grass. The concrete glowers even in the February sun. The wind may blow good or ill; we may continue down the same old road or we can carve a new path. Look up, consider the lessons this place has for us before you decide.
One Small Voice
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