Walt Whitman on War

O Mother, to think that we are to have here soon what I have seen so many times, the awful loads and trains and boatloads of poor, bloody, and pale and wounded young men again — for that is what we certainly will, and before very long. I see all the little signs, getting ready in the hospitals, etc.; it is dreadful when one thinks about it. I sometimes think over the sights I have myself seen: the arrival of the wounded after a battle, and the scenes on the field, too, and I can hardly believe my own recollections. What an awful thing war is! Mother, it seems not men but a lot of devils and butchers butchering each other.

— Letter to his mother from 45-year-old Walt Whitman. Today, WW turns 202.


What good can come from remember past wars if it doesn’t inspire us absolutely to do whatever it takes to avoid the next war?

Not in our name. Put an end to the perennial madness once and for all.

JJM

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