John Quincy Adams was just a boy when his father helped create a new nation. His father was not a great soldier, but he was a great philosopher and diplomat. In memoirs and biographies about John Quincy Adams, it is mentioned that he assisted his father during the years the nation was being forged. The young Adams grew into a man who was determined to defend and promote the ideals he was taught while just a lad running errands for the men who were carving out a new nation. While many only know him as a former US president, historians recognize him as the man behind the Monroe Doctrine. Regardless of his age and physical limitations during the War for Independence, John Quincy Adams did experience and participate in war as a boy.
Often times in the modern age, we only think of veterans of war as those who carried a gun and experienced direct combat. In some forums debate rages as to whether a uniformed solider who worked at a desk during a war can be considered a “true” veteran of war; as if participation in war and the repercussions of war only matter when shrapnel is present.
War is not just fighting on battlefields, but it is also aiding those displaced and disrupted by the fighting.
Whether one wears a uniform or not, whether the war is near or far, and regardless of whether we ever see a frontline, war will affect us all. In some cases, like with John Quincy Adams, war will impact the youth in ways we can only hope will lead them to seek a better world.
War is never just waged on a battlefield.
For Further Reading:
John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy by Samuel Flagg Bemis
John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life by Paul C. Nagel