Thurman P. Woodfork

AGAIN THE DRUMS

Now begins that melancholy time that I was so afraid of seeing; war again looms on the horizon with all the attendant pain and horror it brings. As many gloat in anticipated triumph, their children go toward battle and oblivion with constricted breath and racing hearts. They will selflessly give their all for God and Country. Others mouth boastful defiance as their children turn to face an irresistible, death-bearing torrent of steel and fire with trepidation and hopeless bravado.

On both sides, youth will cease to bloom. It will wither and die in the consuming furnace of War’s fiery breath. Meanwhile avaricious, stonyhearted men wait with grasping hands to reap the bounty provided by the sacrifices of those aborted futures. Somewhere, hopefully, a God notes the actions of these Wicked in His Book of Reckoning.

That, however, provides cold comfort to those who will presently, and for years to come, mourn the empty place at the table, and bear that aching void in their hearts. Custom can neither stem hot tears nor protect minds from the decades of pain that await both the victorious and the defeated.

What monument ever restored a heartbeat, breathed warm life again into flaccid, lacerated lungs, caused a new limb to grow, or returned the light to sightless eyes? So, “beat the drum slowly…” the blood chilling rasp of the Grim Reaper’s whetstone against his scythe echoes once more. It has begun anew.