Saturday, December 24, 2022


Holy Ground


            I was assigned to Guam for two weeks of active duty with the Navy in the summer of 1986. One day, I heard that a resident Buddhist priest had summoned fellow priests from Japan to hold a Daigoma Himatsuri service at the South Pacific Memorial Park on the island. The holy fire service was to honor both American and Japanese soldiers who had lost their lives on this very spot forty-two years previously. It was to bring peace and happiness to the living and the dead. As The Rev. Mitsuzo Tani and the other priests began the service, the assembled group of about one hundred and fifty prayed in silence. I reflected on what had taken place here forty-two years before.

            Below the ground on which we now stood, there had been a network of interlocking tunnels that formed the Japanese Command Post. In mid-August, 1944, Japanese soldiers had gathered for a final stand against the Americans. When that battle was over, 18,000 Japanese soldiers had died. 1700 Americans were killed and another 6,000 were left wounded. Their blood was soaked into the soil on which we now stood. Despite the warmth of the day, I felt a chill.

             It is now December, 2022 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is already perhaps the largest war in Europe since WWII. Will wars never cease? Maybe not but neither will the peace-forming of the faithful. “The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.” John 1:5

Essential Peace

When we concede that

    war is required and

        peace is an illusion

We suffer an evil that

    cuts off the bloodflow

        of compassion

We mask the stink

    of the killed and the

        agony of the killers

If we honor warriors fallen we

    must also succor veterans

        returning from battle

We wound  ourselves by

    limiting patriotism

        to parades and medals

We must also hear from those

    whose conscience dictates

        we serve our nation differently        

War deepens the

    cut that only

        peace can heal

Trust rekindles hope

    respect reknits bonds

        as we weave peace

Wars may persist

    Peace must prevail




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