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.

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David Ball

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.

richard

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.

Goode 'nuff

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

Gunga Din

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.

Annie

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.

murrayv

“I know not why they fought quoth he
But ’twas a mighty victory!”

Leo G

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!

D Böehm

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

Thanks for posting this, Anthony. As we say in Britain, “At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.”

Paul Martin

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”

Snotrocket

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.”

michel

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

michel

Or, for the aftermath, this:
http://www.aftermathww1.com/scannell.asp
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.

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

D Böehm

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?

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

stephen richards

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.

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.)

meltemian

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?

The Old Crusader

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.

Howskepticalment

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.

CRS, Dr.P.H.

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

richard

Mt Watts, every November, you will remind us.

richard

Wilfred Owen!

Pat Bond

When you go home
Tell them of us, and say,
For their tomorrow
We gave our today

Peter Kirby

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

Ian L. McQueen

@ 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

David Jojnes

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.

D Böehm

Peter Kirby,
Very nice. Thanks.

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.

Curiousgeorge

“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.

jorgekafkazar

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.

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

View from the Solent

http://www.firstworldwar.com/poetsandprose/binyon.htm
We will remember them.
The 4th stanza is a part of every Remembrance Day service in UK.
I attended a parade today. There were a significant number of teens among the watchers. Many of dubious appearance (to me). They behaved impeccably, during and afterwards.

D Böehm

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.

richardscourtney

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

Howskepticalment

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.

Howskepticalment

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.

@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.

D Böehm

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.

Robertvdl

Occupation and liberation of Eindhoven 1944 (my hometown)
http://youtu.be/p3M445aE7pk
http://youtu.be/5EXOrpFKyKQ

Alexander Harvey

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

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.

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.

David Ball

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.

Howskepticalment

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’.

Aussie Luke Warm

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.

Lichanos

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.

Gail Combs

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/