June 10, 2013


Fifteen-year-old Stephen Maffo attends Fairport Harding School in Fairport Harbor, Ohio.  Reading The Year of Goodbyes led him to wrestle with the subject of war.  When, if ever, is war necessary?  In his poem, Stephen emphasizes the risk of not standing up to attackers, and the need to ensure our nation's survival.  It's a weighty and serious subject.  I appreciate Stephen's thoughts and the manner in which he has expressed them, even as I don't embrace the zero-sum thinking reflected in the poem's we win/they lose thesis, and I hold on to the hope that, in most conflicts, there is another way.

Many have mixed feelings
About this topic,
Serving in a war is a war for survival
It’s a struggle
That we as Americans
Face with the utmost
Feelings to fight for it,
And do what you feel is right for the nation.
You may be thinking
“There are ways around it” and
“We shouldn’t fight, we need another resolution.”
Another resolution?
You mean withdraw.
Let them build up and strike us again?
Attack us
Terrorize us
And allow it to happen?  
The survival of our nation
The defeat of theirs.

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