Fly your flag – Veteran’s Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

================================

Source

If you see one of these stands out today at your local shop, be sure to buy a poppy pin.

83 thoughts on “Fly your flag – Veteran’s Day

  1. My sincerest thank you and appreciation to all who fought for our freedom. We cannot begin to repay you for what you have done for us all.

  2. As the years go by this day becomes more and more important, a sad note, a documentary today shows that even though the armistice had been signed early in the morning with the cease fire to take place at 11am, at least another 10,000 died, General Pershing wanted to continue the war all the way to Berlin, he said until they know they are really beaten this will come back to haunt us!!!! The Americans kept up the attack until 11am . The last killed on the allies side was a Canadian on a bridge talking to some civilians, he was shot at around 10.59am.

  3. Yes, it has been said countless times, freedom is never free. Disabled American Veterans especially, have always been supported around here.

    “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

  4. In a previous comment I said I remembered when our guys came back from Viet Nam they were called “baby killers”. That should not have happened but it doesn’t happen any more. I’m glad. Vets deserve our thanks. Here’s mine.
    Thank you.

  5. I was in tears this morning at our Remembrance Day service. I was thinking of all those who died for our freedom and how this has been abused; (by the EU, Climate Scams, etc.).

    My thanks to all those who continue the fight for truth and freedom.

  6. Intersting little tidbit from the CBC, the amount of young people who are going to their local centotaph for ceremonies today, has been rising steadily for the last few years. This in a country that has a very small armed force. There still is hope for the future!

  7. I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
    The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
    The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
    I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
    O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
    But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
    The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
    O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.

    I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
    They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
    They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
    But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
    For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
    But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,
    The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
    O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.

    Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
    Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
    An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
    Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
    Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
    But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

    We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
    But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
    An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
    Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
    While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
    But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,
    There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
    O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.

    You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
    We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
    Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
    The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
    For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
    But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
    An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
    An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!

    ~ Rudyard Kipling

  8. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We will remember them.
    — Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), extract from “For the Fallen”

  9. So many things that Churchill said are quotable, but this one was used at the death of an old friend, a Vet(eran):

    “I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

  10. This is what you should be quoting:

    Anthem For Doomed Youth

    What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
    Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
    Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
    Can patter out their hasty orisons.
    No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
    Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
    The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
    And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
    What candles may be held to speed them all?
    Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
    Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
    The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
    Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
    And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
    Wilfred Owen

  11. Two hundred thirty years ago, a man awoke one morn
    To hear a newborn baby’s cry: a nation being born
    That call was answered speedily, by many thousand men
    To guard a new-found freedom where just colonies had been

    The battles raged for many years, and seemed yet never done
    New threats arose from time to time; there’s now another one
    But staunch defenders did their job, faced combat and disease
    And hardships, cold, and toil — we grew stronger by degrees

    More battles we would have to fight, more battles did we win
    Then came the saddest time; we had to turn our force within
    Abe Lincoln lead the nation, and with slavery we dispensed
    And slowly healed and grew as the new century commenced

    But then the call went out once more, as Europe blazed with war
    America was ready — we knew what we’re fighting for
    The time of the Depression, it was said, would sap our will
    But when our troops were needed, they were strong and able still

    We kept the fight, and kept the light, as misery ran deep
    And several hundred thousand paid for what we strove to keep
    Once Europe’s plague was vanquished, we though then we might relax
    But soon the Asian fields were host to Communist attacks

    And now jihadists threats, which had been rising up for years
    Set sights to end our liberty, the bastion of their fears
    The soldiers once again have shown they’re ready for the call
    And ready once again, to do their jobs and give their all

    And once again we’ll owe, as we have since we’d first begun
    Our thanks and praise to veterans — our freedom’s what they’ve won.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  12. michel says:

    “The death of his own son, last seen blind, weeping, face torn by shell, wandering in no mans land. Never should have been in the army, let alone an officer.”

    He served. Did you?

  13. Rearmament

    These grand and fatal movements toward death: the grandeur of the mass
    Makes pity a fool, the tearing pity
    For the atoms of the mass, the persons, the victims, makes it seem monstrous
    To admire the tragic beauty they build.
    It is beautiful as a river flowing or a slowly gathering
    Glacier on a high mountain rock-face,
    Bound to plow down a forest, or as frost in November,
    The gold and flaming death-dance for leaves,
    Or a girl in the night of her spent maidenhood, bleeding and kissing.
    I would burn my right hand in a slow fire
    To change the future … I should do foolishly. The beauty of modern
    Man is not in the persons but in the
    Disastrous rhythm, the heavy and mobile masses, the dance of the
    Dream-led masses down the dark mountain.

    Robinson Jeffers, 1935

  14. The tragedy is that piece by piece the politariat are taking that hard won freedom away and there is nothing we can except to fight again.

  15. For those of you “historical revisionists” who want to WHINE about “us” or “them” causing this or that, I highly recommend “Grant’s Memoirs”. This because Ullyses S. Grant was NO SUPPORTER of the 1848 “Spanish/American/Mexican” war, which he regarded as an “imperialistic action” on the part of the young USA. It is interesting to note his TRANSFORMATION as he found out what the REAL IMPERIALISTIC/WAR LIKE culture of the SPANISH was in comparison to the egalitarian and “formed by laws, not by men”…nature of the U.S.A.

    By the time he left Mexico, Grant has an ABIDING RESPECT for our Constitution, our treatment of humans, WHETHER they were “on our side” or “on the other side”.

    It behooves us now to STUDY the writings and “growth” of this great man, forged in STEEL and documented (as he was dying of tounge cancer) on paper. (And for us to realize that ALAS, some times to rectify wrongs, and to advance the cause of “formed by laws and not by men”, WAR is the answer.)

  16. We who are left, how shall we look again
    Happily on the sun or feel the rain
    Without remembering how they who went
    Ungrudgingly and spent
    Their lives for us loved, too, the sun and rain?
    A bird among the rain-wet lilac sings –
    But we, how shall we turn to little things
    And listen to the birds and winds and streams
    Made holy by their dreams,
    Nor feel the heart-break in the heart of things?

  17. There once was a time when real conservatives knew that there was nothing less conservative than war.

    These same people realized that WWI destroyed western civilization and, like so many other wars, was justified on a tissue of lies.

    The next time that one of denizens of the US or UK bemoan the fate of their culture and country during the last 100 years or so, it would be well for them to remember that a century of unrelenting war is the direct cause of that destruction.

  18. The first line is incorrect.

    It is inconceivable that McCrae would have used a violent word such as ‘blow’ in the context of the trenches and with the sentiment of the poem. The link below:

    (a) perpetuates the incorrect usage of ‘blow’ for ‘grow’
    (b) provides a signed copy of the poem in which the word ‘grow’ is quite clear.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Flanders_Fields

    One of the very moving experiences of my life was seeing poppies growing in Flanders fields – even though the farmer in me noted that they were weeds in modern wheat fields.

    BTW, people need to be careful when they use the word fighting for ‘freedom’ in the context of world war one and world war two. World War One ensured the survival of very unfree colonial empires.

    Our biggest ally by far in World War Two was a despotic, genocidal dictatorship run by a chap called Stalin. The Chinese, who may well have killed more Japanese in World War Two than the West did, were also run by a combination of two unfree entitities: a communist army and a military dictatorship. Our other allies in the Pacific were running undemocratic empires ruled by armed might: England, France and Holland. OTOH, the Philippines were on the cusp of moving from being a US colony to a free nation…even if not quite there by the start of World War Two.

    There were no ‘freedoms’ there.

  19. Thank you, Anthony.

    “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

    President Abraham Lincoln
    Second Inaugural Address
    Saturday, March 4, 1865

  20. Here is a personal view from 1940 by my brother Stan (1920 – 2009)

    The Ensign and the Plank

    You’ve pulled a man from the freezing sea all black with ship’s fuel oil
    You’ve cleaned him off, and see his wounds and wondered what to do
    You see the whiteness of his ribs, where the steam has skinned him too.
    The guilt you feel when you look at him, feeling glad it isn’t you
    And all you have to ease his pain is aspirin and “goo”

    You fear to look him in the eye for the question you know will be there-
    The answer you know is certain death and there’s nothing more you can do.
    You light him a fag and give him you rum as he looks for the rest of his crew
    Then you lay him out on the iron deck knowing that’s his lot
    Briefly wondering if you did aright giving him your “tot”.

    For the rest of the watch with sail maker’s palm, with needle and with thread
    You sew him up in canvas with the rest of that night’s dead.
    With a dummy shell between their feet, making certain they will sink
    You sit and sew till the morning’s glow amid the the mess and stink.

    By dawn’s grey light you carry them aft to the ensign and the plank
    And the hands off watch gather round, all bleary eyed and dank.
    Then the Skipper with his bible says a sailor’s prayer
    Our Father which art in heaven (we hope you’re really there).
    One by one the dead are gone, slid from the greasy plank
    A second’s pause, then a splash, they sink beneath the Main.

    The hands go forward, feeling chill, thinking of those that were slain
    With certain knowledge in a while we’ll do it all again.
    Each one being still alive breathes a silent prayer of thanks
    Wondering with a cold dark fear – will I be next on the plank?

    Stanley Kirby
    Flower Class Corvette Association

  21. @ Howskepticalment November 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    It is “blow” in the three references that I found with google, and I remember MY English teacher stressing that “blow” was correct and “grow” wrong, even if it seemed better.

    IanM

  22. The Old Crusader says:
    November 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm
    The next time that one of denizens of the US or UK bemoan the fate of their culture and country during the last 100 years or so, it would be well for them to remember that a century of unrelenting war is the direct cause of that destruction.

    Are you suggesting that the UK and its allies in the Commonwealth and elsewhere were wrong to go to war in 1939 against the aggression of Hitler, Mussolini and the Fascists of Germany and Italy?
    Where would we be know if we hadn’t done so and held out for two years until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor?

    This is NOT an invitation so sidetrack this thread, just a reminder that sometimes, just sometimes war is both necessary and inevitable.

  23. This morning (11/11/2012) I went to the small War Memorial in our village (Selsey, West Sussex) to place my poppy and to stand for a moment to remember. I was preceded by seven or eight young children who were making their way to the same destination, each was carrying a poppy wreath. When we all arrived at the Memorial I had to stand back whilst the children, not one of whom was a teenager, solemnly laid their wreaths, one after the other, at the base of the Memorial. They all then stood, heads bowed, hands clasped in front of them whilst the apparently oldest child read out the verse at the bottom of the Memorial plaque.
    I had more than just a tear on my cheeks when she said “… At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.” She emphasised the “will”.
    They all stood for a moment and then, as they turned to leave, I asked the reader why they were all there. She pointed to one name on the plaque and said, “That’s my great-great Grand-Dad.”
    The other children then took turns in pointing to various names and citing their own relationships with people which were to me nothing more than letters cast in bronze.
    No-one shepherded these children, no-one supervised or instructed them, this was something which they did because it was members of their family whose names were on that plaque.
    I was humbled. To these children those metallic names were relatives, they were people.
    And, yes. Those people were, and will be remembered.

  24. “Through a Glass, Darkly”
    General George S. Patton, Jr.

    Through the travail of the ages,
    Midst the pomp and toil of war,
    I have fought and strove and perished
    Countless times upon this star.

    In the form of many people
    In all panoplies of time
    Have I seen the luring vision
    Of the Victory Maid, sublime.

    I have battled for fresh mammoth,
    I have warred for pastures new,
    I have listed to the whispers
    When the race trek instinct grew.

    I have known the call to battle
    In each changeless changing shape
    From the high souled voice of conscience
    To the beastly lust for rape.

    I have sinned and I have suffered,
    Played the hero and the knave;
    Fought for belly, shame, or country,
    And for each have found a grave.

    I cannot name my battles
    For the visions are not clear,
    Yet, I see the twisted faces
    And I feel the rending spear.

    Perhaps I stabbed our Savior
    In His sacred helpless side.
    Yet, I’ve called His name in blessing
    When after times I died.

    In the dimness of the shadows
    Where we hairy heathens warred,
    I can taste in thought the lifeblood;
    We used teeth before the sword.

    While in later clearer vision
    I can sense the coppery sweat,
    Feel the pikes grow wet and slippery
    When our Phalanx, Cyrus met.

    Hear the rattle of the harness
    Where the Persian darts bounced clear,
    See their chariots wheel in panic
    From the Hoplite’s leveled spear.

    See the goal grow monthly longer,
    Reaching for the walls of Tyre.
    Hear the crash of tons of granite,
    Smell the quenchless eastern fire.

    Still more clearly as a Roman,
    Can I see the Legion close,
    As our third rank moved in forward
    And the short sword found our foes.

    Once again I feel the anguish
    Of that blistering treeless plain
    When the Parthian showered death bolts,
    And our discipline was in vain.

    I remember all the suffering
    Of those arrows in my neck.
    Yet, I stabbed a grinning savage
    As I died upon my back.

    Once again I smell the heat sparks
    When my Flemish plate gave way
    And the lance ripped through my entrails
    As on Crecy’s field I lay.

    In the windless, blinding stillness
    Of the glittering tropic sea
    I can see the bubbles rising
    Where we set the captives free.

    Midst the spume of half a tempest
    I have heard the bulwarks go
    When the crashing, point blank round shot
    Sent destruction to our foe.

    I have fought with gun and cutlass
    On the red and slippery deck
    With all Hell aflame within me
    And a rope around my neck.

    And still later as a General
    Have I galloped with Murat
    When we laughed at death and numbers
    Trusting in the Emperor’s Star.

    Till at last our star faded,
    And we shouted to our doom
    Where the sunken road of Ohein
    Closed us in it’s quivering gloom.

    So but now with Tanks a’clatter
    Have I waddled on the foe
    Belching death at twenty paces,
    By the star shell’s ghastly glow.

    So as through a glass, and darkly
    The age long strife I see
    Where I fought in many guises,
    Many names, but always me.

    And I see not in my blindness
    What the objects were I wrought,
    But as God rules o’er our bickerings
    It was through His will I fought.

    So forever in the future,
    Shall I battle as of yore,
    Dying to be born a fighter,
    But to die again, once more.

  25. The Old Crusader says: “…These same people realized that WWI destroyed western civilization and, like so many other wars, was justified on a tissue of lies.”

    True. It was not the war to end all wars, but the war to make the world safe for British Imperialism. The English measures to punish the Germans for having the effrontery to oppose them, resulted in the starvation of millions of civilians. Those civilians did not forget. Hitler had little trouble luring many of them into creating his Third Reich to obtain his brand of justice.

    The Lusitania was being used to ship arms to England. A German newspaper ad warned Americans not to sail on it. It was sunk in relatively shallow water and divers could enter and see that the hold was full of torpedoes. My uncle served in WWI and had nothing good to say about it. He often said, “If we ever have another war, they’ll have to sift every ash heap in Ohio to find me.”

    On an Army survey sent out after the war, they asked, among many other things, “Was there a lot of theft in your unit?” His answer (as I remember it): “Our outfit was assigned to a front that was contested back and forth over twenty miles for two years. There wasn’t a hell of a lot left to steal.”

    The IPCC has formed a political movement based on another tissue of lies. No good will come of it.

  26. The controversy, “blow” or “grow”
    Is solved with bits of look-about
    McCrea himself let either go
    When sending handwrit copies out

    The poem as it was first writ
    Used “grow” — the photo shows it clear
    But ‘ere was published, changed a bit,
    Thus, “blow” when it did first appear

    The piece gained literary heft
    And popularity did swell
    But pacifists from on the left
    Did blast it, like our friend “michel”

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  27. jorgekafkazar,

    Very true. And FDR was the cause of Pearl Harbor and war with Germany. The Winds Of War is an excellent book, which shows how FDR maneuvered both the Germans and the Japanese into war.

    Hitler’s biggest blunder was unilaterally declaring war on the U.S. four days after Pearl Harbor [never widen your circle of enemies if at all possible]. And of course we know that FDR worked to cut off Japan’s petroleum supplies, while privately insulting them. FDR was a clever man. But he was very bad for American interests.

    The U.S. could have, and should have, kept out of both World Wars.

  28. jorgekafkazar:

    If you really felt compelled to write your post at November 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm then it would have been better if you had done it on another day.

    Please manage to control yourself on future Remembrance Sundays.

    And if you want to know the reason for my request then read the post from Stephen Brown at November 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm then try to understand it.

    Richard

  29. Ian

    @ Howskepticalment November 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    It is “blow” in the three references that I found with google, and I remember MY English teacher stressing that “blow” was correct and “grow” wrong, even if it seemed better.

    IanM

    IMHO, you had a good English teacher but a poor literary historian.

    If the poet was prepared to sign off on ‘grow’, I am prepared to go with the poet. If he had signed to ‘blow’ ditto.

  30. I disagree with the idea that on remembrance day we should indulge in self-censorship.

    Those who tend to think that most of the mass slaughter is as memorable for its sheer stupidity and human waste as it is for self-sacrifice should have as much right to say so as those who wish to ignore the stupidity and waste and to focus on self-sacrifice alone. Both perspectives can be supported with reason, and both perspectives may be infused with deep emotional meaning.

    In democracies there should be room for both views to be expressed. It is only in despotisms where you can be partriotic, or else.

    Nor should we forget that after, for example, World War One, World War Two and the Vietnam War, huge numbers of veterans refused to have anything to do with official days of remembrance. They knew where they had been, what they had been through, and why, and what they thought about it all.

    It would be nice, on their behalf, to see a national day of remembrance of human war folly and mass war waste, lest we stumble into yet another war by error, or accident, or misapprehension, but I imagine that the politicians would not be attracted to the idea at all, at all.

  31. @michel

    I don’t understand all the hate on Kipling. In the first place, there was incredible peer pressure to join the military and fight in the war — a healthy young man *not* in uniform would have been called a coward by little old ladies on the street at that time. It took wholesale slaughter on an epic scale to put a stop to that. The son of the man that helped found scouting would have been under unbelievable pressure to serve his country.

    Kipling did pull strings for his son to get into the service — he had extremely poor eyesight. To sum up the whole situation as “Kipling? A wretch, fake through and through. The death of his own son, last seen blind, weeping, face torn by shell, wandering in no mans land. Never should have been in the army, let alone an officer.” is unbelievably cruel.

    Pray you never have a child in harms’ way, there ONLY because they wanted to prove themselves to their hero — you, and to hear of them suffering such a fate, and to never even find their body. Kipling paid his price, and there’s no conscionable reason to trash his memory to impress your friends on the internet.

  32. Howskepticalment says:

    “…after, for example, World War One, World War Two and the Vietnam War, huge numbers of veterans refused to have anything to do with official days of remembrance. They knew where they had been, what they had been through, and why, and what they thought about it all.”

    “Huge numbers”? Not really. Veterans tend to not grandstand. Those who presume to speak for veterans and go to rallies as veterans do most of the grandstanding.

    What most non-veterans thought about the Viet Nam war was: “Eek! I might get drafted!” That was their primary concern.

    Friends I went to high school with got draft deferments simply for majoring in Education. [Which explains our government education failure, if you think about it.] Many of those who, for whatever reason, did not get draft deferments moved to Canada, or hid out. The majority of Viet Nam war protestors of military age did not protest based on conviction. They protested out of fear and angst. I felt the animosity for being part of the military, and it was worse because I had enlisted, and even worse yet, volunteered for Viet Nam <–[old timey & correct spelling].

    Lots of cowardly people avoided serving, by hook or by crook. There was little genuine high-mindedness involved. There aren’t many Quakers in the country. Some draft dodgers were also encouraged by their parents, who preferred that other parents’ boys should do the fighting, rather than their own sons.

    The '60's generation is now in charge, and plenty of people who should have done their duty now justify their cowardice by being loudly "anti war".

    I myself am anti war. America should have never been in WWI, WWII, Viet Nam, Iraq, or Afghanistan. President Washington was right when he wrote that we should avoid foreign entanglements. But when individuals get to pick and choose which laws they will obey, society as we know it is doomed. And what follows will be much worse.

  33. Howskepticalment,

    The usage of “blow” would carry the archaic meaning of blooming or blossoming.

    It is used in that sense in other poems.

    A similar sentiment may be expressed by Fitzgerald in his translation “The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám”

    I sometimes think that never blows so red
    The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
    That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
    Dropped in her Lap from some once lovely Head.

    Alex

  34. To Howskepticalment :
    Yes, we are a sad and ugly people, us Americans… I am sure our many sins will be revisited upon us. I served in the Viet Nam era… it was hard to find babies to kill in Texas where I fixed Airplanes… my father drove a tank across Germany… Oh did I miss it? Where did you serve in order to preserve your right to disparage us all?

    I am also sure our enemies will take great comfort in your words.

  35. Howskepticalment wrote:

    It would be nice, on their behalf, to see a national day of remembrance of human war folly and mass war waste, lest we stumble into yet another war by error, or accident, or misapprehension, but I imagine that the politicians would not be attracted to the idea at all, at all.

    It is up to the individual to recognize the relative folly and virtue of armed conflict. Perhaps it’s still too soon for those who shunned/demonised the combatants returning from Vietnam and who spat on the graves of the fallen to see their own wrong.

    Rememberance Day/Veterans Day/… is about those who fought. It’s not about war, politics or a military. It is to honour the strengths of those who fought, to recognize and to respect their humanity.

    Those who return from combat carry unseen scars. Some may choose not to remember because that can rip open those old wounds. I can respect that choice. An alternative day of rememberance will not serve those veterans who do not wish to remember. I suspect that it would counter-productive.

    Finally; it must not be left to politicians to decide what day the public choose to honour certain people and who should be honoured. The people to be honoured mark their day in history. The public decides if that day should be set aside. Individuals decide if they should participate.

  36. Peter Kirby says:
    November 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Thank you. My children and I read your brother’s poem together. It moved us all.

  37. DocWat

    To Howskepticalment :
    Yes, we are a sad and ugly people, us Americans… I am sure our many sins will be revisited upon us. I served in the Viet Nam era… it was hard to find babies to kill in Texas where I fixed Airplanes… my father drove a tank across Germany… Oh did I miss it? Where did you serve in order to preserve your right to disparage us all?

    I am also sure our enemies will take great comfort in your words.

    I won’t go into what my extended family suffered in a couple of wars. What would it prove, except that horrific suffering is normal for war? I will mention one small detail, though. My father, still alive, is a survivor of the Burma Railroad. He is 96. Unfortunately, the nightmares are getting worse and worse as he gets older.

    I regard Americans not as ‘…sad and ugly…’ but as almost infinitely varied. I regard America as being full of paradoxes – a brilliant civilization of creativity, invention, innovation, selflessness, and with a marvellous history of great contributions to the world. I regard the American ideals and support for freedom and democracy as being one of the great contributions to world history post world war two. That said, you would can’t be blind to the faults. IMHO, a reckless tendency to go to useless wars is one such fault. Apart from anything else, these wars appear to be sending the US broke. A trillion here and a trillion there and pretty soon the cupboard is empty.

    Who am I disparaging because I think that most wars are senseless? Not the soldiers, mostly, but the politicians who get us into one useless war after another for sure. I can see why some people think that the Vietnam War was a ‘good’ war. I don’t.

    BTW, it would be useful if you were not quite so self-centred.

    For example, Australians have been active allies with the US in most of America’s post-World War 2 wars. Australian soldiers fought in Vietnam and I had in mind many of the Aussie vets with whom I have discussed that war, and their refusal to be part of any of the official remembrance functions. I was talking to one recently, a good mate of mine, as a matter of fact. He has described various war crimes in which he has participated in. Quite matter of factly, SOP, he reckoned. He told me how, when the Government of the day had finished with him and his mates, they were shipped back to Australia and dumped into civvie street with no support at all. As a group they have very, very high rates of depression and despair. More Aussie soldiers have died since the war, of war-related pyschological conditions, than died during the war. Usually the end comes through suicide.

    The notion that you have to have served or fought in order to have an opinion about war is absurd and an attempt at censoring others that does not hold water.

    Australia had a lottery system whereby marbles with birth dates were drawn from a barrell. My number did not come up for the Vietnam war. Pure, dumb luck, because I was young and ignorant enough to have gone had the draw gone the other way.

    The ‘baby killer’ tag is interesting. In my view, very few soldiers deliberately killed babies – although it did happen, as for example at My Lai.

    The overwhelming proportion of babies who were killed in the Vietnam War, along with children and women died as a ‘normal’ part of war. They have some of fancy phrase for it: ‘collateral damage’.

  38. In Australia, we have a charitable organisation called Legacy which looks after wives & children of armed services personnel who are deceased or disabled. Lest we forget! For some unfathomable reason I suspect that many global warming alarmist do not support this worthy not-for-profit organisation.

  39. Are you sure that the service of our veterans is honored by this poem you have posted? Perhaps you should investigate its history. It was employed as a propaganda piece to prolong WWI when some politicians, with very good reason, were concluding that a negotiated peace might be the best way to end the slaughter.

    Somehow, a poem used to prolong a stupid and brutal war in Europe, that advanced no positive program, that allied us with ‘democratic’ allies like the Czar, and that was motivated by European Imperial rivalry, does not seem an appropriate means of celebrating the soldiers of a democracy. WWI was nothing but senseless murder of innocent draftees to satisfy the ambitions of kings, ministers, and generals.

  40. Bernd Felsche says:
    November 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    ….Rememberance Day/Veterans Day/… is about those who fought. It’s not about war, politics or a military. It is to honour the strengths of those who fought, to recognize and to respect their humanity….
    _________________________________
    Amen.

    I and my husband always personally thank any soldier we come across for their service. Our business also gives a discount to all active service families. (I do a lot of business at the nearby base, Fort Brag NC – I was just there today.)

    Always remember it is the leaders/politicians who make the decisions to get us into war and not the soldiers. I read somewhere that during WWI/WWII many of the soldiers never even fired their guns.

    … Many people assume that soldiers in a firefight instinctively respond to enemy fire by shooting back, and that soldiers in a kill-or-be-killed situation will choose to kill. But informal interviews conducted with thousands of American combat soldiers during World War II by army historian S.L.A. Marshall revealed that as many as 75% of soldiers never fired their weapons during combat. In recent years the rigor of Marshall’s research methods has been called into question, but his basic conclusion that the majority of soldiers will not return fire during combat if left to their own devices has been corroborated by evidence and accounts from other wars, including the American Civil War, World War I, and the Falklands War….

    http://smellslikescience.com/the-psychology-of-killing-and-the-origins-of-war/

  41. Robertvdl –

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WHAT YOU POSTED!

    My Father, his friends…they were involved in this… I’m SO PROUD OF YOU for being THANKFUL.

    THANKS SO MUCH FROM COLD MINNESOTA to warm Netherlands and the people therein.

  42. Howskepticalment says:
    November 11, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    “Useless wars” eh?

    Does the deliberate murder of some 60 million Chinese innocents under Communism even bother you?

    Does the deliberate murder of 45 some million under Communists in Russia/USSR bother you?

    Does the enslavement of Eastern Europe bother you?

    The deliberate murder of two millions more by Pol Pot bother you?

    The imprisonment/enslavement/coerced and forced labor/loss of freedom of hundreds of millions under Communists elsewhere bother you at all?

    What do you consider then a “useful” war? One that serves the purposes of socialists? Muslims over Christians? Hindu’s over Pakistani? Muslims over Buddhist? Is your “hatred” of war only focused on the western countries trying to keep others free … Who are you afraid of?

    The rescuers? The ones fighting for somebody else’s freedom? Or the guerrilla, the terrorist, the slave owners and corrupt dictators in Africa and South America?

  43. DocWat said:

    “Where did you serve in order to preserve your right to disparage us all?”

    As we see, he chickened out. All his words of ‘woulda, coulda’ are meaningless. Because there is always the enlistment option.

    .

    Lichanos says:

    “WWI was nothing but senseless murder of innocent draftees to satisfy the ambitions of kings, ministers, and generals.”

    Don’t forget the biggest warmonger: President Woodrow Wilson.

    Wilson got the U.S. into WWI. It did not have to happen. We could have been the peace brokers. Instead, Wilson chose war. After the war, Wilson was the cause of the Versailles treaty being ratified. He could have easily blocked it. Germany held more territory at the end of the war than at the beginning. But like lots of his screwups, Wilson made the wrong decision. He also set up the League of Nations, the precursor to the totally corrupt, flagrantly anti-American, anti-West UN. It would be hard to find a more inept and stupid president than Woodrow Wilson. Even counting Carter and Obama.

  44. D Böehm says:
    November 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm
    The U.S. could have, and should have, kept out of both World Wars.
    And ignore the fact that Hitler was out to make Europe a Jew free territory?
    Here is a veteran who is not so blind to human nature that he believes that war is never necessary.
    Remember "all it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing."

  45. D Böehm says:
    November 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    The U.S. could have, and should have, kept out of both World Wars.
    ———————————————————————————————-
    And ignore the fact that Hitler was out to make Europe a Jew free territory?

    Here is a veteran who is not so blind to human nature that he believes that war is never necessary.

    Remember “all it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.”

  46. Richard Patton,

    You make a good argument, and I agree. However, my point was that FDR deliberately maneuvered the U.S. into WWII. But protection of the European Jewish population was not his reason.

  47. D Böehm says:
    November 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm
    “The U.S. could have, and should have, kept out of both World Wars.”
    Possibly and perhaps probably the US should have stayed out of WW1 and as it was, they entered very late in the conflict.
    On the other hand, fighting the Axis in WW2 was likely unavoidable. If England was defeated during the Battle of Britain, Germany would have England’s powerful naval forces and Germany would have the time to consolidate its conquests into a great European war machine. The Zimmerman telegram revealed ed early on Hitler’s intentions of conquering South America and from there, threatening North America. There was no way that the US could have avoided war with the Axis countries other than prostrating themselves as a vassal state.

  48. RACookPE1978 says:
    November 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Howskepticalment says:
    November 11, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    “Useless wars” eh?

    Does the deliberate murder of some 60 million Chinese innocents under Communism even bother you?

    Yes. Which war did the West fight to stop that? I am not sure what your point is.

    Does the deliberate murder of 45 some million under Communists in Russia/USSR bother you?

    Yes. Which war did the West fight to stop that? The reality is that Kruschev (who organised the Stalingrad front during World War Two), had previously been one of the chief instigators of mass slaughter in the USSR under Stalin. You might recall that he was our ally in World War Two. But this went off the boil a bit during the Cold War. In any case, I am not sure what your point is here.

    Does the enslavement of Eastern Europe bother you?

    It did. It is one the main reason our family fled Europe. BTW, that enslavement was carried out by our chief World War Two ally, the Soviet Union so I am not sure what your point is.

    The deliberate murder of two millions more by Pol Pot bother you?

    Yes. I have visited the killing fields and they is appalling. BTW, it was the Vietnamese Communist Government that overthrew Pol Pot. So, I am not sure what your point is.

    The imprisonment/enslavement/coerced and forced labor/loss of freedom of hundreds of millions under Communists elsewhere bother you at all?

    Yes. I am bothered by all despotisms and all infringements of human rights whether by Communists, colonial empires, Right-wing dictatorships, reiligious oligarchies, unelected kings and other bunches of unelected thugs, crooks, criminals and genocidal mass murderers.

    What do you consider then a “useful” war? One that serves the purposes of socialists? Muslims over Christians? Hindu’s over Pakistani? Muslims over Buddhist? Is your “hatred” of war only focused on the western countries trying to keep others free … Who are you afraid of?

    I would define a useful war as one in which we fight successfully against an invasion.

    The rescuers? The ones fighting for somebody else’s freedom? Or the guerrilla, the terrorist, the slave owners and corrupt dictators in Africa and South America?

    If you were to apply these rhetorical questions to Saudi Arabia, what conclusions would you come to?

    The US is propping up a Mediaeval Kingdom in Saudi Arabia through, inter alia, the presence of heavily armed troops, air power and naval power.

    The Kingdom is only maintained by an apparatus of secret police, religious thought police, and military might.

    As for personal freedom, women cannot drive a car without being accompanied by a husband or a male guardian. As for democracy, there are no elections.

    OTOH, Saudi Arabia is a major exporter of one of the world’s most radical Islamist sects – Wahabism, and counts Osama bin Laden as one of its most ‘successful’ imports.

    I suggest the world is a far more complicated place than implied by your series of rhetorical questions.

  49. Thanks for the dedication of a page to honor all those who have served. The many comments and thoughts are a celebration of the magnificence and frustration of being human. I commend some study and reflection on Rupert Brooke, the young Englishman with great gift for poetry and academics, who enrolled in England’s service in WW1. He died in France or Belgium. He very much wished to live, as did likely all who ever have served. The sacrifice of those who serve is honorable, irrespective of second thoughts about the justifications of their leaders, with few exceptions.

  50. Howskepticalment…

    …is someone who deliberately avoided serving his country. Now he presumes to pontificate on military matters.

    Truly disgusting.

  51. Aussie Luke Warm says:
    November 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    In Australia, we have a charitable organisation called Legacy which looks after wives & children of armed services personnel who are deceased or disabled. Lest we forget! For some unfathomable reason I suspect that many global warming alarmist do not support this worthy not-for-profit organisation.

    Suspicions never got anyone anywhere in a logical discussion.

    I support AGW science and I support Legacy which I believe has done a fantastic job – often despite governments, rather than because of governments.

    I also support actively making sure that our Government treats returning vets from Afghanistan properly. We have around 30 KIA and several hundred WIA in Afghanistan. OTOH, Defence has around 30,000 cases of PTSD on its books. IMHO, these should be counted as casualties in the casualties stats (their wounds will often take much longer to heal than physical wounds) and they should be given an Australian equivalent to the US purple heart decoration.

    By far the largest percentage of our war casualties are psychological casualties. They should be honoured and supported 100% by the Government that ordered them into the war, regardless of what we might think about the value of the war itself.

  52. Bernd Felsche says:
    November 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Howskepticalment wrote:

    It would be nice, on their behalf, to see a national day of remembrance of human war folly and mass war waste, lest we stumble into yet another war by error, or accident, or misapprehension, but I imagine that the politicians would not be attracted to the idea at all, at all.

    It is up to the individual to recognize the relative folly and virtue of armed conflict. Perhaps it’s still too soon for those who shunned/demonised the combatants returning from Vietnam and who spat on the graves of the fallen to see their own wrong.

    (I appreciate this post.)

    I would have no difficulty with the premise (it is up to individuals…) but in practice it is not possible. All national governments use national resources to organise vast remembrance events. This makes it government business, not private business, IMHO.

    Rememberance Day/Veterans Day/… is about those who fought. It’s not about war, politics or a military. It is to honour the strengths of those who fought, to recognize and to respect their humanity.

    See my previous comment. Remembrance Day is not private. It is a public event. I habitually visit war cemetaries and war memorials whenever I travel. The last such was the American Cemetary in Manila earlier this year. There are 17,000+ graves in that cemetary (two Aussies slipped in amongst all the Americans and Filipinos). Here and there a relative has visited and left a wreath or has arranged with the management to have a wreath laid. I visited the cemetary three or four times to try and get a handle on what it ‘meant’.

    It is a beautiful, peaceful place for contemplation.

    The first and the obvious feeling is a profound emotional response to the ultimate self-sacrifice and to the sheer scale of that sacrifice. The second impact was that the cemetary contains many graves of Filipino soldiers who died with their US comrades. The cemetary therefore marks an important step in the evolution of the national relationships between the US and the Philippines. Thirdly, the cemetary contains a potted history of the course of the War on its murals. IMHO, it is a historically accurate potted history. It sticks to the military elements, by the large. Fourthly, it gave form to our visit to Corrigidor and to our understanding of the destruction of Manila during World War Two. So, the cemetary tells, simultaneously, many stories and it has many meanings – some personal, some national, some political.

    I put it to you that the American Cemetray is like Remembrance Day and that we cannot separate the personal and the political, even if we wanted to. (BTW, I had many excellent discussions with knowledgeable staff at the Cemetary and they organised a buggy for me to visit the Australian graves – they are a credit, IMHO).

    Those who return from combat carry unseen scars. Some may choose not to remember because that can rip open those old wounds. I can respect that choice. An alternative day of rememberance will not serve those veterans who do not wish to remember. I suspect that it would counter-productive.

    I acknowledge the sensitivities you raise. I would add another sensitivity to your consideration: a remembrance of those who suffered pyschologically as their menfolk returned, maddened by their war experiences.

    Finally; it must not be left to politicians to decide what day the public choose to honour certain people and who should be honoured. The people to be honoured mark their day in history. The public decides if that day should be set aside. Individuals decide if they should participate.

    As I have argued above, try to stop a politicians from basking in reflected deeds of the truly brave. If there are soldier’s greatcoats about, the politicians are sure to ride the tails.

  53. Howskepticalment says:

    “I habitually visit war cemetaries and war memorials whenever I travel.”

    Yet he refused to serve.

    Hypocrite.

    My advice to howskepticalment: get off the subject. You are only digging yourself a deeper hole.

  54. D Boehm I don’t wish to be pedantic here, but Howskepticalment didn’t ‘refuse to serve’ as you put it. He was not selected in the draft and was therefore not required to serve. If you are going to condemn someone for some reason, you should at least get that reason right.

  55. D Boehm write, of Kiling “He served. Did you?”

    Kipling did not serve. That is the whole point. Kipling, as in Tommy Adkins above, promoted a sentimental propoganda about the Empire and the wars it took to get and keep it. Kipling’s son was half blind, a decent boy, in no way suited to serve in the infantry or to be an officer. He would never have been accepted on health grounds had he tried to enlist in the normal way. Kipling therefore intrigued with his senior contacts in government to get him into the army, where he died almost at once. No shame to him, thousand, tens of thousands died that same day. No shame to him for being half blind either, that’s just what he was given.

    The shame is to his jingoistic father who drove him to it and put him there, and afterwards wrote My Boy Jack. It has to be one of the falsest poems of loss ever published, a complete sentimental denial of the reality the shame and the pity of what the author had done to his boy.

    As for did I serve? Never mind me. My family paid in the Great War and the price was most evident even in my childhood. What the Great War and remembrance of it should be about, in England, is not the honour of sacrifice, which is a fully legitimate subject and emotion, just not of that war. Instead we should be remembering the loss and the betrayal and the denial. As Ezra Pound put it

    Daring as never before, wastage as never before.
    Young blood and high blood,
    fair cheeks, and fine bodies;

    fortitude as never before

    frankness as never before,
    disillusions as never told in the old days,
    hysterias, trench confessions,
    laughter out of dead bellies.

    There died a myriad,
    And of the best, among them,
    For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
    For a botched civilization.

    Charm, smiling at the good mouth,
    Quick eyes gone under earth’s lid,
    For two gross of broken statues,
    For a few thousand battered books.

    This is Kipling’s dreadful and pitiable reaction, the man who still could not admit what he had done.

    Have you news of my boy Jack?”
    Not this tide.

    “When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
    Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

    “Has any one else had word of him?”
    Not this tide.
    For what is sunk will hardly swim,
    Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

    “Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
    None this tide,
    Nor any tide,
    Except he did not shame his kind —
    Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

    Then hold your head up all the more,
    This tide,
    And every tide;
    Because he was the son you bore,
    And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

  56. I did serve(USN). I’ve also been a firefighter, and I have worked security. I got really tired of spending holidays away from home, missing birthdays, seeing the kids grow up and not being able to attend the funerals of close family members. So, I got out after 20 years.

    The one thing that bothers me about it… is the bleating “war is evil” crowd. Allegedly, we serve to protect that sort of slime… but I can’t help feeling like we are being taken as suckers by that sort. Personally, I don’t fly my flag anymore. Mainly beause the country is effectively done. All you bashers of the US… I tell you what. You’re own you own. Don’t look to me for help. I have a family to take care of.

  57. Howskepticalment: I don’t believe anyone wants, or rejoices, in war, there a whole string of wars I vehemently disagree with ranging from Korea, through Viet Nam to Iraq. That they are wrong isn’t the fault of the participants, it’s the fault of their leaders. I can only quote the mother of a British soldier whose death was announced in the press.

    “To the world he was just a British soldier, to me he meant the world”.

    Behind all these deaths are people whose lives have been destroyed. Pointman, with great eloquence, has written about the BBC and hte attempts to dismiss the casualties of the various unnecessary wars, and how the people of a small village near Brize Norton showed our metro-elite that compassion comes before politics.And yes it’s the same for the “other side ” in any war.

    “So many times, they offend the sentiments of ordinary people, because they simply don’t know what that those sentiments are. They seem incapable of understanding the very idea of some basic things like love of country and respect for the men and women who are prepared to put everything on the line, to protect that old-fashioned idea. Notions like that are very out fashion in medialand.

    They desperately wanted to spin the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as some sort of variant of Britain’s very own Vietnam, by almost eagerly reporting each casualty on the evening news, but their silly agenda was beaten by the quiet dignity of a bunch of villagers nobody had ever heard of. The people of Brize Norton heard the transports droning in with the bodies aboard, so they knew the hearses would be driving by in a while. Everything stopped in the village for five minutes, as they lined the streets to pay their final respects to the hearses driving by.

    They knew each of those hearses contained someone’s son or daughter and irrespective of the politics of the thing, it was a person who’d lost their life in the service of their country. Old fashioned stuff but even a bunch of sophisticates like you couldn’t sneer at it for too long, because people found it grossly offensive, which yet again surprised you. You repackaged it as your very own condescending take on little England but let’s face it, you’ll never understand anything like that. That would involve something called patriotism.”

    Read it all:

    http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/the-bbc-aunty-beeb-or-mummy-knows-best/

  58. I dunno, I’m all turned around on sacrosanct institution. I believe saluting veterans is pretty propagandistic; not out of disrespect for those who died but really over the myth that wars beget freedom. You do realise that a hell of a lot of of their intake is via school drop-outs and those lacking prospects. In times past, wars have been promoted as auspicious international opportunities, I know that is true for Australia, -I’m pretty optimistic that the military exploits these people.
    One really needs to question the mindset of someone willing to risk their life for a nation state. Are they delusional? -perhaps, but more than likely indoctrinated.
    I perfectly understand that a country requires a strong defence but the concept of defence is barely tenable when one considers your county’s track record. On the contrary, the U.S. has been a scourge to the developing of world peace and economic stability for years now.
    I’m sorry if this offends, it’s just how I feel. I can see why you wouldn’t want to publish this.

  59. From one living in Flanders Fields, who can’t drive in western direction without passing by those white silent witnesses of a painful past, scattered all over the West-Flemish war zone http://www.ww1cemeteries.com/ww1cemeteries/indexpage.htm , sincerest thanks to all those poor souls who came here thinking they were involved in something sublime and glorious, but soon found themselves in living hell…

    http://www.inflandersfields.be/en/world-war-i-in-flanders/casualty-database/introduction

  60. This discussion should not have ventured into politics and right or wrong.

    The day is about remembrance of those who gave their lives for others, knowing full well they were risking everything.

    Time will eventually render us all forgotten, but we should stop and remember those people now while their names and their history still have meaning.

    And perhaps pray for a future without wars.

    “With God On Our Side”

    Oh my name it is nothin’
    My age it means less
    The country I come from
    Is called the Midwest
    I was taught and brought up there
    The laws to abide
    And the land that I live in
    Has God on its side.

    Oh the history books tell it
    They tell it so well
    The cavalries charged
    The Indians fell
    The cavalries charged
    The Indians died
    Oh the country was young
    With God on its side.

    The Spanish-American
    War had its day
    And the Civil War too
    Was soon laid away
    And the names of the heroes
    I’s made to memorize
    With guns on their hands
    And God on their side.

    The First World War, boys
    It came and it went
    The reason for fighting
    I never did get
    But I learned to accept it
    Accept it with pride
    For you don’t count the dead
    When God’s on your side.

    When the Second World War
    Came to an end
    We forgave the Germans
    And then we were friends
    Though they murdered six million
    In the ovens they fried
    The Germans now too
    Have God on their side.

    I’ve learned to hate Russians
    All through my whole life
    If another war comes
    It’s them we must fight
    To hate them and fear them
    To run and to hide
    And accept it all bravely
    With God on my side.

    But now we got weapons
    Of the chemical dust
    If fire them we’re forced to
    Then fire them we must
    One push of the button
    And a shot the world wide
    And you never ask questions
    When God’s on your side.

    In a many dark hour
    I’ve been thinkin’ about this
    That Jesus Christ
    Was betrayed by a kiss
    But I can’t think for you
    You’ll have to decide
    Whether Judas Iscariot
    Had God on his side.

    So now as I’m leavin’
    I’m weary as Hell
    The confusion I’m feelin’
    Ain’t no tongue can tell
    The words fill my head
    And fall to the floor
    If God’s on our side
    He’ll stop the next war.

    Bob Dylan

  61. samg
    I was one of those with no prospects.
    I went into the US Navy one week out of high school.
    I went to college on the VA bill.
    Earned a Ph.D. in chemistry.
    The US and its military is the reason your post was not in Japanese.
    jwa

  62. All war is an evil; but war against a tyrant can be, and has been, much the lesser evil. Ask the Ukrainians, or the Jews, or the Cambodians, or the Chinese, what evil tyranny can bring.

    Remembrance day (here in Britain) is observed with increased respect of late. I am pleased that my family happily takes part, and that a son of mine parades with the cadets.

    At the same time, I am grateful that I was never called up into the military – I don’t know if I would have found the courage to go under fire.

  63. @ SamG says:
    November 12, 2012 at 2:15 am

    Your post doesn’t offend me (GySgt, USMC (Ret). But I do think you should study world history and cultural anthropology. You seem rather ignorant of both, and would benefit from furthering your education.

  64. There’s a lot here since my last post.

    Let’s leave it at this: This is a board that is inhabited largely by skeptics – i.e. hard heads that follow where the data leads them.

    The Origins of the Second World War – A.J.P. Taylor
    History of the Second World War – B.H. Liddell Hart
    The Chief Culprit – Victor Suvorov

    Read those, probably in that order, instead of the fawning court histories one usually runs into. Even the ‘good’ war wasn’t.

    Remember: you (justifiably) don’t trust the government approved narrative on climate, why in the world would you trust the narrative on foreign interventions?

  65. I think it must be possible to at the same time honor the soldier who does his duty while not glorifying war. It’s seems to be a miserable and expensive business by all accounts. Most importantly, let us care for every returning veteran as well as we can, and only when that is done can we tally the material as well as human cost of war.

    Paul Fussell for one believes that the following is the finest poem written in WWI. Some, him included I think, find “Flanders Fields” a little bellicose.

    ‘Break of Day in the Trenches’
    By Isaac Rosenberg

    The darkness crumbles away
    It is the same old druid Time as ever,
    Only a live thing leaps my hand,
    A queer sardonic rat,
    As I pull the parapet’s poppy
    To stick behind my ear.
    Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew
    Your cosmopolitan sympathies,
    Now you have touched this English hand
    You will do the same to a German
    Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure
    To cross the sleeping green between.
    It seems you inwardly grin as you pass
    Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes,
    Less chanced than you for life,
    Bonds to the whims of murder,
    Sprawled in the bowels of the earth,
    The torn fields of France.
    What do you see in our eyes
    At the shrieking iron and flame
    Hurled through still heavens?
    What quaver -what heart aghast?
    Poppies whose roots are in men’s veins
    Drop, and are ever dropping;
    But mine in my ear is safe,
    Just a little white with the dust.

  66. geronimo

    You state that I ‘sneer’.

    At what? I am thoroughly aware of the Brize Norton story and personally find it moving. War can have its decencies as well as its horrors. War can be utterly stupid, wasteful and still have its nobility. War usually brings out the best in people; and the worst. I have stated above my view that it is politicians who are most to blame.

    I differ with your view that soldiers are somehow just the victims of war, that they there are there because they are doing their duty, and that they are doing what they are because they were ordered to do so. This was a line that did not pass muster at Nuremberg, and for very good reason. Individuals, like nations, have choices and are accountable for those choices.

    BTW, I have also indicated above that I have a view that there is such a thing as just war.

  67. michel – I’m not sure I would quote ezra pound – didn’t he support the axis in the war? Didn’t he live in Italy or Germany?

    As for the Brits – we were thankful when the Americans entered the war – it saved our bacon.

  68. “””””…..

    Howskepticalment says:

    November 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm
    ……………………..
    BTW, people need to be careful when they use the word fighting for ‘freedom’ in the context of world war one and world war two. World War One ensured the survival of very unfree colonial empires.

    Our biggest ally by far in World War Two was a despotic, genocidal dictatorship run by a chap called Stalin……”””””

    I guess the history books got it wrong when they said Stalin signed a mutual defence treaty with Hitler, and then got stabbed in the back by him. I could have sworn that US made trucks and stuff were shipped via dangerous shipping lanes to Russia to help them in their war, with their mutual defence partner.

    Come to think of it, didn’t Stalin declare war on Japan, after the atomic bomb was dropped, and then sieze the northern Japan Islands, which they still occupy today.

    I agree that Russia had its hands full with the problem they brought on themselves. Don’t ever remember them being a US ally. Well Churchill seemed to think they were the real enemy of freedom, and he told the US as much in his Iron curtain speech.

    I don’t exactly remember many of the WW-I battles fought in the Colonies; I must be getting too old.

    But the French colonial empire did survive WW-II, thanks to de Gaulle, thereby leading to the Vietnam War.

  69. The Old Crusader.

    War is a sacred Cow, It’s an institution protected from scrutiny via a combination of pro-democracy historical bias and fiendishly clever exploitation of human grief and sorrow. This is how government functions on every level -it is a decivilisation agent and also the panacea. Why would it be any different with war? Virtually all wars are fraudulent and could have easily been averted via political diplomacy and the non-aggression principle. You are correct, we question the climate change consensus, some of us question central planning, , yet war is taboo for many conservatives.

  70. Dizzy Ringo
    michel – I’m not sure I would quote ezra pound – didn’t he support the axis in the war? Didn’t he live in Italy or Germany?

    Yes indeed. Hugh Selwyn Mauberly, from which I quoted, was written in the aftermath of WWI. In the second war he remained in Italy, the Cantos descended into the direst sort of mindless and disconnected anti semitism, he broadcast for the Nazis (or for the Fascists, I forget which). On returning to the US, he was tried for treachery, which he had clearly committed, and was confined to mental hospital.

    All the same, HSM remains a fine poem (though there is a trace of the rot to come in the reference to usury). And there are fragments in the Cantos which are admirable. We are a complicated species. He was not a man anyone could approve of. Much of his work was the poorest sort of pastiche. He seems to have had little or no sense of how to read the literature he often derived his efforts from. Pound on the troubadors is ludicrous reading.

    Still, ‘there died a myriad’ remains true.

    We should remember, considering the English reaction to WWI, that there was a reason why the Cambridge University debate of the thirties concluded that they would not fight ‘for King and Country’. They did fight and die in a very different cause 5 or 10 years later however. For England, WWI was a betrayal and remains so. Kipling was the apologist of empire, and the concept and myth of empire was an essential part of that betrayal. Kipling was also a glorifier of a certain disgusting sort of sanctioned violence and abuse by the strong. Read the last chapter of Stalky, if you can get through it, and shudder. This too, the falsification and sentimalisation of abusive institutions, was complicit in the way WWI was waged.

    The London Cenotaph ceremonies reflect a struggle between the two elements, that of mourning, and that of glorification. Like many others the country has never been able to reconcile them. They are irreconciliable. But in the end, in England, mourning has won.

    You will notice that in London you have Marble Arch. In Paris you have the Arc de Triomphe. A very different emphasis. And in Ypres you have the Menin Gate. Very different again. If you go to Verdun, you see the glorification of sacrifice. If you go to Tyne Cot, you’ll see something quite different and much deeper. You saw the same thing in the people lining the streets in Wooton Basset.

    We should remember WWI in a way differently from how we remember WWII and many, probably most in England do. Sassoon’s finest poem says it all:

    On Passing the new Menin Gate

    Who will remember, passing through this Gate1,
    The unheroic Dead who fed the guns?
    Who shall absolve the foulness of their fate,—
    Those doomed, conscripted, unvictorious ones?

    Crudely renewed, the Salient holds its own.
    Paid are its dim defenders by this pomp;
    Paid, with a pile of peace-complacent stone,
    The armies who endured that sullen swamp.

    Here was the world’s worst wound. And here with pride
    ‘Their name liveth for ever,’ the Gateway claims.
    Was ever an immolation so belied
    As these intolerably nameless names?
    Well might the Dead who struggled in the slime
    Rise and deride this sepulchre of crime.

  71. @Michael:
    I think enough here have picked up on your unsuitable in insensitive remarks to save me the further trouble.
    This day is not about the legitimacy of war or otherwise but about the men and women who sacrificed their lives for others.
    It does not require any such as you belittling them and especially those who died.

    Reading the memoirs of Francis Law (A man at arms, memoirs of two world wars) there is nothing but respect shown for him by his fellow officers and men. He may have had bad eyesight and his father may have used influence with Lord Roberts to get him into the Irish Guards.
    But many lied about their age or contrived to hide any medical problems. Later when conscription came in and in desperation medical standards were lowered and lowered again.
    One of my great uncles had false teeth but was allowed to enlist.

    I wonder at your ability to so incisively and with such assurance damn the character of his father and question his grief. Did you know the man or his father? did you fight in the trenches yourself or in any war?

    And I wonder what you might instead be saying had Kipling used his influence to keep his only son from being accepted? Or what you would have to say about his writing on the death of his son had he made the attempt and failed when medical standards were relaxed so far that the mere matter of poor eyesight was of no consequence? I suspect we would then only hear bout the privileges of fame while the common man had to suffer his lot.

    At any rate your comment strikes a sour note amongst those more thoughtful and sensitive.
    Casualties amongst officers were very high indeed and known to be high even to those officers still in England and yet to go abroad.
    Officers were not only subject to all the hazards their men were subjected to but they were also singled out by German snipers. Initially easily identified by their dress and accoutrements and later on by their manner and actions on the battlefield when they dressed more like their men and carried a rifle. It is not so much a surprise that he was killed but that some survived. That he was Kipling’s son has nothing to do with it and I do not see any reason to make disparaging remarks about his father.

    On a personal note our family has been fortunate not to have lost members in the US civil war nor in the great war or the second world war, the Korean war nor Vietnam though we did lose an ancestor in the Indian wars in Nova Scotia. But not for want of trying. My grandfather was in the Cavalry and when the great war broke out fought through the trenches and was then part of the Army of the Rhine. Like many a regular solider he joined the Territorials during the inter-war years and the home guard in WWII while serving in Naval Intelligence.
    He made many a trip to the Menin Gate to remember his fallen comrades.
    My Father went from the CCC to the army (artillery), thence to the QM as a cook (more pay) and finally to the paratroops. He was one of just 7 men amongst the 47 left of the 509th PIB when it was disbanded in April 1945 (and then sent to the 508th) who had served from its prewar (pre US entering the war) beginnings. He fought from from North Africa through to the final stages of the war. He was hit in the stomach by machine gun fire during a night drop in France and spent some time in hospital so goodness only knows what sort of injuries saw others invalided out and of the others from Operation torch forward the attrition rate must have been very very high.
    One of his brothers fought in the pacific – island hopping and another was in the infantry. Funnily enough it was only a couple of years ago that either of them realised they had both been at the Battle of the Bulge, at or near Batsogne (my fathers second purple heart, his uni was attached to the 101st at that time).

    Why do I mention this?
    Because while it may be easy to read some modern day destruction of any of the great names it is quite something else to imagine you can judge any man who fought in the trenches as undeserving of our respect nor judge his parents similarly wand without justification unless simply parroting the opinions of others. I cannot say how I could have behaved in any capacity during the Great war nor could I even begin to understand how men such as my father fought on in campaign after campaign wondering when their turn would come. Nor imagine the survivors guilt.
    So I hesitate to make any judgement of my own having never fought a war and while I can try to imagine some of the horror of it all, I have no way to judge them but accept the judgements of those who were there and who did fight.
    I only know how little my grandfather would have thought of you and your judgement and I can imagine how my cousin would react after his time in Vietnam to someone who finds it so easy and on such an occasion to belittle both serving soldier and grieving parents.

    Shame on you.

  72. What I posted in Facebook:

    At Rememberance/Armistice/Veterans day, we should remember why wars occur and how to prevent them.

    War comes from someone’s desire to control or even annihilate others. Reasons include:
    – grabbing goodies (totalitarian societies don’t produce well, so look outside for more)
    – ideological control (the ultimate being Totalitarian Islam’s desire to kill all infidels – people who don’t believe including those Muslims who they think are not properly practising the religion)
    – psychological problems (Hitler for example, the ultimate nationalist)

    I especially thank the people of the United States of America for their productive capability that stopped the tyranny of Imperial Shinto Japan & enabled the Allies to stop National Socialist Germany. (While the US had stayed out of the war in Europe it was providing money and equipment, often through Canada.)

    Remember history – appeasement of Hitler and ignoring Imperial Shinto regime’s aggression only allowed them to gain strength and confidence toward their goal of conquering everyone.

    Keep in mind that both National Socialist Germany and Imperial Shinto Japan were making progress to having atomic bombs. Fortunately the Allies stopped them.

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