Faye and I recently visited Dayton OH and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
We had agreed that before seeing anything else we’d see the temporary exhibit of “Canine Warriors – Courage and Sacrifice, Always Beside You”. Ten live-size dog figures exquisitely, beautifully hand carved and shaped from various woods and other materials graphically depicted the traumas and horrors that war dogs and their handlers can live, and not live, through. The sculptures are distressing, even disturbing.
This work depicts the instant a dog and its handler were blown up by an improvised explosive device. The dog was badly injured yet survived. The handler did not.
Later, Faye rightly pointed out the wrong-ness of putting in harm’s way animals that don’t understand why they are put in harm’s way. I agreed, and pointed out the wrong-ness of old men – they are almost always old, almost always men – with little if any skin in the game, sending young men and women to fight sometimes absurd wars.
This wrong-ness is not new. Nor will it end soon, if ever. It’s important for me, for everyone, to see how the terror and horror of war affects those who are at the spearhead of war-fighting.