Symbolic Guns

It’s a mindless kind of driving that happens in the mornings. The same route as always. The same songs on the radio. There’s always construction somewhere. I never remember much of the drive. Nothing much changes to spark my interest, to make my brain hold onto it.

The traffic light is red and I tap the wheel impatiently. As always, I am running late. Do the traffic gods not realize this?? The light remains red, almost in defiance of my irritation.

I stare to the left. I generally look to my left when I’m bored. Why does my head turn in that direction effortlessly. Does it not like my right side as much? (My thoughts are very deep and philosophical in the morning. please note the sarcasm.)

The statue on the small strip of grass rises above the dust and fumes of summer traffic. Dressed in Revolutionary era garb it seems out of place in the fast paced metal and rubber world of the 21st century. Gripping his rifle he stares into the middle distance. He’s clean shaven and his boots look new. No one looked like this during the Revolutionary War. This statue does not represent the real men, but the conquering nation as a whole.

Now my brain is interested. I’m sure I’ve seen it before but this time I remember it. I hold onto it. And I am bothered.

I have seen many statues like this one. Similar ones are in almost every city I go, in the United States of America and abroad. They symbolize bravery and victory. In the case of the Revolutionary War they symbolize the beginning of a nation. Why must these symbols always carry guns? Sure, soldiers technically won the war. But not these soldiers. Not these perfect, clean, well dressed soldiers that the statues are. And there’s no sign of the many civilians who hid them, who fed them, who worried for them, and who mourned them. No sign of the PTSD and internal struggles those who survived had to live with.

Wars are often won by military might and the people who support them. But nations are built in the aftermath. They are built by politicians and by farmers. They are built by teachers and doctors. They are built by carpenters and social workers. Why are they not represented?

We say we pray for peace but we build statues holding guns.

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4 thoughts on “Symbolic Guns

  1. But nations are built in the aftermath. They are built by politicians and by farmers. They are built by teachers and doctors. They are built by carpenters and social workers. Why are they not represented?

    And the carpenters, the doctors, the farmers, the politicians, the teachers –are the people holding the guns. They serve their time, be it voluntarily or by draft, then they return to what they were doing.

    The very same people who build the country also protect it. Never think the soldier, sailor, airmen or marine comes out of no where. They are our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, wife and husbands.

    We say we pray for peace but we build statues holding guns.

    We do pray for peace and we do build statutes holding guns — so that those who do not pray for peace will be warned.

    Bob S.

    • Bob S.

      I like your point. And you’re right that soldiers are more than just soldiers. And we should be grateful for their sacrifices.

      But the most work in creating and keeping a nation is not done by fighting. And I wish that would be represented more often. I’d like my country to be symbolized by more than just “soldiers.” We should honor them for more than just the violence they endured. We should honor them for all the hard work they had to do afterwards. As doctors and teachers and carpenters etc.

      I never want us to feel comfortable glorifying guns or violence. Even if they were necessary.

  2. Stebeccofr,

    I’d like my country to be symbolized by more than just “soldiers.”

    How many municipal buildings are named for people known for their fighting? Parks? Streets? Schools?
    In thousands of ways, thousands of times we honor those who are building the country. That statute in the park gets seen by how many people versus the number of people who go through the building named for the doctor or the mayor?

    I never want us to feel comfortable glorifying guns or violence.

    Why focus on the gun instead of the individual holding it? Seems that the inanimate object isn’t the subject but the virtues of the person willing to wield it and the values shown while doing so. Men and women of valor – versus a gun.
    Sacrifice and willingness to serve versus violence. I think it says more about your mindset that you focus on the negative.

    Bob S.

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