Saturday, May 28, 2011


Barb Wire - some four letter words to think about as we begin this Memorial Day weekend.

Barb wire is an interesting invention - simple on the surface, so that you wonder why it wasn't invented earlier, but one that marked a major change in a wide variety of areas.  Originally primarily applied to cattle, it changed how livestock were contained - moving from relatively expensive walls and fences to fairly inexpensive wire.  The expense change came both from material costs and labor costs to assemble a barb fence compared to one of wood or stone.

These same factors changed warfare.  Balls of barb wire lined the trenches during the First World War, making charges a difficult operation.  They became a cheap way to contain humans, as well as cattle, and were used in prison camps and jails.

Amnesty International, which today marks its 50th anniversary, uses a lit candle and barb wire as its logo to symbolize those that are unjustly imprisoned and prisoners of conscience, and that the world will remember them.

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