Overusing War Terms

For a week now, I have been intensely focused on a series available on Netflix called the Greatest Events of WWII in Colour. Comprised of 10 mini documentaries chronicling some of the pivotal moments of the war, this British series has captivated my interest and sent chills down my spine on multiple occasions.

So far, I have watched the first six shows: Blitzkrieg, Battle of Britain, Pearl Harbor, Battle of Midway, Siege of Stalingrad, and D-Day. Each one tells the stories of these events in masterfully restored color with the brilliant narration of Derek Jacobi. The episodes are complimented by the commentary of war historians and the real accounts of war heroes involved in the battles.

You will learn a lot from this series.

Each mini documentary delves deep into the respective conflicts. The intentions of the world leaders are revealed and the strategies of the generals are analyzed. No decision is made lightly as every move is tactical; it is the ultimate chess match––a chess match that often-had millions of lives riding on it.

As I have watched these programs, and become more aware of the brutality and death of war, I have felt a little ashamed at how often I have used war terms/analogies (“chess match” included) in everyday life. From sports to simply going to Walmart, I have used terms such as “going to war,” “in the trenches,” “hostile territory,” and “behind enemy lines” to describe mundane life experiences that don’t involve thousands of people getting killed.

Growing up, I would hear people say that war and football share common experiences and that war terminology is valid on the battlefield and the football field. You know, I am not so sure about that.

No matter how violent and popular football might become, it is still simply a game. War, although characterized sometimes in terms of a game, is not. Perhaps we should keep the two separate?

If in fact we decide to do that, this blogger needs to lead by example. In my eight years authoring Don’t Blink, I am sure I have probably hundreds of instances in this blog where I use a war term to describe something non-war related. What can I say? I have been ignorant.

I hate to say that it has taken me over three decades and a Netflix documentary to think twice about my word choice, but I guess better late than never? Time to do some re-evaluating. Don’t Blink.

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