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September 11, 2013

KITCHELL: 'Over there' has different connotation now

It’s amazing how cyclical our American views of the world are.

Periods in our history reflect sentiments when we couldn’t wait to go to war and counter sentiments when we didn’t want to be bothered with it. Sometimes, historians could argue, we shouldn’t have been involved. Sometimes they might argue, we should have intervened sooner.

If we were around a century ago, we’d be hearing the isolationists tell us how we really should stay out of other nations’ business. By that time in 1913, we’d fought the War of 1812 the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. We were about to fight World War I, the Great War, the War to end all wars, as it became known. The conflict was characterized by that great battle cry of a marching song, “Over There,” with the signature ending, “... and we won’t be back until it’s over, over there.”

A century later, “over there” has an entirely different connotation, as in, “The last thing we need is another war over there in the Middle East.” You can’t blame the American opponents of a war in Syria that involves the U.S., especially when military families are raising generations of kids who have known more time without a parent than with them. Moms and dads have served multiple tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan or any number of other military outposts and locations, but when the conflict is chased away, it moves on to another country like a rock band’s world tour.

If you’re an American of this generation or any previous generation in the past century, you have to be wondering if there is an end to war, or if it, like the Bible says of the poor, will always be with us.

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