Thursday, December 25, 2003

Today is the day on which Christians have chosen to specially remember the promise that the world need not perish, but that anyone might be saved. Today my people remember the God who says, "I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies. Therefore turn and live!" (Ez. 18:32), and we remember the strange events set in motion when our chieftain invaded our sphere not for mankind but for each man and woman, individually. I offer the following in tribute to all those who have ever gone to the aid of another human being with no regard to the cost, and especially to my national brothers and sisters who are spending Christmas away from their loved ones to aid their fellow men.

"In the grim logic of the universe this may be a weakness. Perhaps some race that never bothers to rescue an individual may exploit this human trait to wipe us out. The Skinnies have such a trait only slightly and the Bugs don't seem to have it at all - nobody ever saw a Bug come to the aid of another because he was wounded; they co-operate perfectly in fighting but units are abandoned the instant they are no longer useful.

Our behavior is different. How often have you seen a headline like this? - TWO DIE ATTEMPTING RESCUE OF DROWNING CHILD. If a man gets lost in the mountains, hundreds will search and often two or three searchers are killed. But the next time somebody gets lost just as many volunteers turn out.

Poor arithmetic ... but very human. It runs through all our folklore, all human religions, all our literature - a racial conviction that when one human needs rescue, others should not count the price."
- Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
- Julia Ward Howe, "Battle Hymn of the Republic," wartime version

May the day quickly come when the king returns once more for all, and the necessity for the arts of war will fade with the rest of this world like a bad dream. Merry Christmas.

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