Thursday, November 14, 2013

Words of Thanks

By Kenneth A O'Shaughnessy

November has been a month of thankfulness in the United States since the Civil War. Since right from the beginning, Thanksgiving has been associated with war. So it is fitting that we offer thanks early in the month for our veterans - those who have fought for us, and returned to model their sacrifice in their civilian lives or their continued service.

We give thanks for them, and we give them thanks. Unfortunately, it is often all we can give those who have given themselves wholly for us. Let’s use what we’ve been given - words - to participate in some way in the gift these warriors have given to us.

We have no record of the first war.
I don’t mean Cain cudgeling Abel,
Although all wars are between brothers.
And I don’t mean “There was war in Heaven”-
There were no casualties in that war
Except humans here on earth.

I mean war, real and inpersonal,
Where every man is an ascetic,
Every man seeks the salvation
Of his own people, and gives up
His home, his family, his soul.

All he has left is a good God,
And he fights for that greater Good.
All wars are religious, because
All wars are sacrilegious.
Just like we rob the poor by our wealth,
We rob the warrior with our peace.

We say “Thanks for serving”
Without joining in the cup,
And miss that he is offered and offering,
The soldier is our national Eucharist.

Kenneth A O'Shaughnessy is a freelance writer and poet living in the upstate of South Carolina with his wife and four children. To find his daily poetry entries, log onto: 

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