“They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.”

~Ernest Hemingway

About the quote: from “Notes on the Next War,” published in Esquire Magazine, 1935.

Are there still (war) stories left untold?

October 20 came a-rollin’ and it was time again to celebrate Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s fulfillment of his war promise to return to the Philippines and liberate the country from the foreign invaders.

When you consider 66 years and start doing mental calculations, you come to realize only those who are 76 today or thereabouts (they would have been 10 years old then – kids!) are the ones who experienced those weary times and are still alive to recount them, or whatever childhood memories they have retained.

As in previous anniversary celebrations, ambassadors from the major war player nations came to lay floral offerings for the war heroes and gave messages of peace and hope for everybody.

Prayers were recited, in unison as well as in silence. Testimonials were given, stories told by weary veterans and their children; a siday was read; songs of love, peace and hope were sung; and candles lit (albeit a real challenge against the strong winds coming from the Pacific Ocean).

The war veterans association has now been overtaken by the VFP – Sons and Daughters Association, Inc. which formed the majority of those who came to celebrate this year’s anniversary at the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park in Candahug, Palo, Leyte.

I noticed the predominance of old women among those who came to the anniversary celebration – widows of war veterans, together with their children and their children’s children.

I’m sure each one of them has a story to tell about the war… if anyone cares to listen to them at all.

And I bet there won’t be much told… about the follies of war.

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