We humans are designed for action. We become easily bored with daily routines. This is why war of some kind is never really far away. When war breaks out nations and people come alive. It’s like a heroin addict taking a hit after a prolonged dry spell.

Church bells peal. People laugh and cheer and wave flags. There are marching bands and patriotic songs to be sung. It is all so thrilling, so exciting. We feel apart of something bigger than ourselves. In the initial phase of war the popularity of politicians in charge spike. Knowing this national leaders always keep a war card in their pockets for when things don’t go so good for them. (You know, Trump and his Tomahawk venture into Syria.)

As long as our side is obviously winning all is well. Most of the time, however, wars bog down, allowing their ugliness to ooze into our consciousness. Excitement turns to fear and dread as mothers receive the sickening notice that a loved one is missing or killed.

The initial excitement of missiles and bombs flying at the enemy turns into a daily grind worse than usual, until foulest of all the whole thing becomes a bore and our emotions are back to square one — victory seems pointless and we no longer care about battlefield heroes. We sink back into our mundane lives. The heroin like excitement has lost its punch and war leaders are pushed aside. We rest and gather energy for the next bout of war fever.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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