Today is Veterans Day. 90 years ago this morning, Germany signed the armistice ending World War I, a conflict that swallowed an entire generation of young men. Every year, bells chime across the country to commemorate the close of the war to end all wars. At the College, students played paintball.
We’d appreciate the irony if we didn’t find the event so tasteless. Still, we understand the authority to hold the games rests with their organizers and not with officials of the College or the Student Assembly. Both were right to allow them to proceed.
In fairness, the College’s Veterans Society created and sponsored the event, a fact that lends a modicum of legitimacy to the choice of entertainment. Lance Zaal ’09, the society’s president, indicated that he hoped the games would attract students to the other, more thought-provoking displays and presentations they’d assembled.
But regardless of the intended end, to use paintball as a means to achieve it still smacks of disrespect. Simulating war for the sport of it discounts the reality and finality of death, and no one who has risked his or her life defending this country deserves to see that service mocked by a bunch of college kids who find pleasure in a fantasy of war.