18 December 2014

Anniversary of Verdun - Not Just Worse Than Anything We've Experienced But Worse Than We Can Imagine

Try to wrap your mind around the scale of this tragedy. 9/11 happens. 2,996 lives tragically ended on a Tuesday. The country shocked. And then on Wednesday, 2,996 more lives are taken in a similar attack. Twice in a row now, the country is incredulous. And then on Thursday, another 2,996  lives are taken. Friday, 2,996  more. Every day this happens for 100 days, from 9/11 to 12/21.

Think of how many families would be shattered, the inconceivable number of young lives cut short. The baffled and heartbroken parents and siblings. Imagine how shell shocked people would become. Think about how hard it would be for the nation to absorb a loss of that magnitude, to even make sense of it. Imagine how much it would change us.

The Battle of Verdun ended on this day 98 years ago. In this single battle, 300,000 were killed.

By the time that World War 1 was over, 16 million people had been killed, 7 million of them civilians. 16 million is the equivalent of a 9/11 every day for nearly 15 years. This in a world where total population was about one-fourth of today's population.

It's not just that we really have no equivalent experience in our lifetime. We can scarcely imagine it.

Thank you Thomas for the reminder.

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