What is your call of duty?

Nov 09, 2010

The new Call of Duty game came out today. Activision typically releases this game during the Veterans Day holidays and I've always been disturbed by this. It also amazes me they don't get any complaints for doing so, and what does it say about us, as a society, that has made a video game out of warfare

For those who may not know, COD is a first and third person shooter video game simulating modern warfare. To be fair, there are several other games like COD, for example Medal of Honor, and it is a very big business, during the 2009 release of COD, Activision sold 55 million units worldwide and made $3 billion in retail sales.

Perhaps I'm too sensitive to the juxtaposition of a game release simulating modern battle conditions while we are suppose to pause and reflect on those who have served. Veterans Day is typically referred to as Armistice Day in Europe and marks the armistice that Germany signed on Nov 11, 1918, that ended the First World War. Each year since, nations have marked the day as a day of remembrance. This will be the 91st year.

After World War II, there were public calls in the US to change the holiday to "All" Veterans Day to include all veterans and not just those who served in WWI. Congress marked the change in 1954, replacing "Armistice" with "Veterans". In some countries the holiday is referred to as "Remembrance Day", which I think more appropriate and reminds people that many who served are actually deceased or missing in action.

Like many, I have veterans in my family that go back to the Revolution. My father was a Vietnam vet and is buried in Arlington. When I visit Arlington, I know I'm not alone, there are, unfortunately, many fathers buried there. Fathers, husbands, bothers, sons, and yes also many mothers, wives, sisters and daughters. Some were old when they passed, but most  were kids. Just young kids, who may have preferred to play a video game than face the hell that cost them their very lives. The current total is over 300,000 and it grows each year, and many may not realize this, but Arlington isn't the only veterans cemetery in the country. There are many throughout the US and several overseas. If you haven't visited a National Cemetery or a State Veteran Cemetery yet, I would encourage you to do so this week. http://www.cem.va.gov/cems_nmc.asp

I'm concern that many millions buy and play a video game that simulates the very hell that our service men and women face everyday in combat operations overseas. I know that these games will continue to exist and  will remain popular, but I wonder the affects it has on us, as a society and for the individuals who play them. Is it appropriate for Activision  to release such a game during a period that has been set aside for people to reflect on the sacrifices that our veterans have made? Why do they never get any complaints for doing so? Is it even sensible to make a game out of modern warfare?

I can't change the behavior of society or large corporations. I can only talk to YOU the reader of this blog post. I hope my concerns and thoughts do have an impact on you. And so my question is simply this, how will YOU honor our veterans and those who sacrifice their lives for our freedoms this holiday? What is your call of duty on this Veterans' Day?


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