During the Vietnam war, pictures of death and destruction filled our television screens. In the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pictures of terrorized children and suicide bombings have appeared on our computer screens. Anyone interested in following this conflict can log on to sites showing images of demonstrators on the West Bank or of stone-throwing youth facing tanks.
We sit on makeshift stools in the shade of a large yuyuga tree beside the workhouse, a typical farm structure with bamboo and mud walls and a tin roof. A few steps away in the stables, calves wait for their feeding. On the slope below, several dozen goats graze on the hillside.
For 49 years, presidents, members of Congress and thousands of invited guests have met annually in Washington, D.C., over orange juice and muffins to petition God to rain bipartisan blessings down on the United States and its incumbant-elect.
After 30 years of directing funerals, I’ve come to believe in open caskets. A service to which everybody but the deceased is invited, like a wedding without the bride or a baptism without the baby, denies the essential reality of the occasion, misses the focal point. It is why we comb wreckage, drag rivers and bring our war dead home.