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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Armistice Day: 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

    Over here, in the U.S., we tend to forget the Great War - we call it World War I now. 93 years ago today a hugely devastating conflict ended; it began 97 years ago, in August 1914. The war left over 15 million people dead and 20 million more wounded.

    When I was a kid, I remember U.S. veterans of this war asking for donations for poppies one could pin on one's lapel. I'm sure "Buddy Poppies" are still with us, but Great War veterans, living ones, are with us no longer. What should never go extinct, however, is the memory of those veterans and their great sacrifice.

    Britain comes to a standstill on Armistice Day to observe a two-minute
    silence to remember those who fought and died for the country

    Tributes to the war dead have begun around the world as people observe two minutes' silence to mark Armistice Day.

    Offices and schools in Britain fell quiet and people stopped in the streets at 11 o'clock this morning to remember those who have died in global conflicts.

    War memorials in the UK's villages, towns and cities became the focal point for remembrance at the '11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month' - the time the peace agreement between Germany and the Allies took effect in 1918 after four years of fighting.
    more at Daily Mail link above, with plenty of pictures, of course

    Also in DM today:

    The mother who lost five sons: On Armistice Day, the heartbreaking
    story of the biggest loss by a British family in the Great War

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    On Battleship Hill
    My maternal GGF died in the Dardanelles WW1, GF died in the Russian Convoys, WW2. My Nanna didn't stop mourning him until the day she died.
    I rushed down to the village Cenotaph today at 11.00 and observed 2 minutes silence with other villagers, local dignitaries etc.
    This is the first Armistice day with no WW1 veterans, we have to carry it on for them.

    I love this song commemorating WW1
    Last edited by KateB; 06-13-2015 at 10:31 AM. Reason: repair url tag.
    England's dancing days are done...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Not Of This World
    11-11-11, happy Veterans Day and thank you to all who served. WW1 was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Sadly, that was not the case.

    Follow me on the Twitter! @EricDiesel1972

    Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (KJV)

    10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord. (KJV)

    Follow me at my Biblical Blog: http://scripture-demystified.blogspot.com

    Baruch ha Shem Adonai.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Version by Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy: "The Green Fields of France"

    Last edited by KateB; 06-13-2015 at 10:31 AM. Reason: repair url tag.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Wilfrid Owen - who some think is the greatest war poet in the English language - was shot in the head and killed one week before the Armistice, on 04 November 1918, machine-gunned at the Sambre Canal in one of the last attacks on the German lines of the war. His sonnet below and his "Dulce et Decorum Est" are but the best of the many poems he completed before his death at age 25.

    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 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 goodbyes.
    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.

    For his courage and leadership in the Joncourt action, he was awarded the Military Cross, an award which he had always sought in order to justify himself as a war poet, but the award was not gazetted until 15 February 1919. The citation followed on 30 July 1919:

    2nd Lt, Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, 5th Bn. Manch. R., T.F., attd. 2nd Bn. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in the attack on the Fonsomme Line on October 1st/2nd, 1918. On the company commander becoming a casualty, he assumed command and showed fine leadership and resisted a heavy counter-attack. He personally manipulated a captured enemy machine gun from an isolated position and inflicted considerable losses on the enemy. Throughout he behaved most gallantly.

    The bells had been ringing for one hour on November 11, 1918, in Shrewsbury, England, to celebrate the Armistice when the doorbell rang at Tom and Susan Owen's home, announcing the arrival of the telegram informing them their son was dead.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    On Battleship Hill
    A Dorset take on WW1

    The Man He Killed

    from “The Dynasts” by Thomas Hardy (1915)

    “Had he and I but met
    By some old ancient inn,
    We should have sat us down to wet
    Right many a nipperkin!

    “But ranged as infantry,
    And staring face to face,
    I shot at him as he at me,
    And killed him in his place.

    “I shot him dead because—
    Because he was my foe,
    Just so: my foe of course he was;
    That’s clear enough; although

    “He thought he’d ’list, perhaps,
    Off-hand like—just as I—
    Was out of work—had sold his traps—
    No other reason why.

    “Yes; quaint and curious war is!
    You shoot a fellow down
    You’d treat, if met where any bar is,
    Or help to half-a-crown.”


    Last edited by KateB; 06-13-2015 at 10:32 AM. Reason: repair url tag.
    England's dancing days are done...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    And speaking of Thomas Hardy, his "Drummer Hodge," below, actually concerns the Boer War, but we do call it "Veterans Day" here in the U.S., allowing for a celebration of the sacrifices of many wars, even ones fought by the English and the Boers. Below is Rupert Brooke's sonnet "The Soldier," a poem mightily informed by the Hardy poem; it's perhaps the best-known poem of the Great War: "...some corner of a foreign field / That is for ever England."

    Drummer Hodge

    They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest
    Uncoffined -- just as found:
    His landmark is a kopje-crest
    That breaks the veldt around:
    And foreign constellations west
    Each night above his mound.

    Young Hodge the drummer never knew --
    Fresh from his Wessex home --
    The meaning of the broad Karoo,
    The Bush, the dusty loam,
    And why uprose to nightly view
    Strange stars amid the gloam.

    Yet portion of that unknown plain
    Will Hodge for ever be;
    His homely Northern breast and brain
    Grow to some Southern tree,
    And strange-eyed constellations reign
    His stars eternally

    The Soldier

    IF I should die, think only this of me;
    That there's some corner of a foreign field
    That is for ever England. There shall be
    In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
    A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
    Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
    A body of England's breathing English air,
    Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

    And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
    A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
    Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
    Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
    And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
    In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Walt Whitman lived in Washington D.C. 1863-65, and, there, served as a nurse during the American Civil War. While he wrote not a few poems about the war itself, I've always favored this selection from Specimen Days - a sort of prose poem, its subject as clear as its title, yet beyond it, too - the White House seen through a frosted lens, ghost-like, almost hallucinatory. We do not fight, of course, for the White House per se, but for what it embodies: for freedom, for democracy. The morning will bring focus, reality, the continuation of the War, and the dreams within his night's vision will awaken; the promise of equalilty will needs be proved again: "...the White House of future poems, and of dreams and dramas, there in the soft and copious moon."

    The White House by Moonlight

    February 24th.—A SPELL of fine soft weather. I wander about a good deal, sometimes at night under the moon. To-night took a long look at the President’s house. The white portico—the palace-like, tall, round columns, spotless as snow—the walls also—the tender and soft moonlight, flooding the pale marble, and making peculiar faint languishing shades, not shadows—everywhere a soft transparent hazy, thin, blue moon-lace, hanging in the air—the brilliant and extra-plentiful clusters of gas, on and around the facade, columns, portico, &c.—everything so white, so marbly pure and dazzling, yet soft—the White House of future poems, and of dreams and dramas, there in the soft and copious moon—the gorgeous front, in the trees, under the lustrous flooding moon, full of reality, full of illusion—the forms of the trees, leafless, silent, in trunk and myriad-angles of branches, under the stars and sky—the White House of the land, and of beauty and night—sentries at the gates, and by the portico, silent, pacing there in blue overcoats—stopping you not at all, but eyeing you with sharp eyes, whichever way you move.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    On Battleship Hill
    Heartbreakingly, horses were also conscripted

    Homeward by Cicely Fox Smith

    Behind a trench in Flanders the sun was dropping low,
    With tramp, and creak and jingle I heard the gun-teams go;
    And something seemed to 'mind me, a-dreaming as I lay,
    Of my own old Hampshire village at the quiet end of day.

    Brown thatch and gardens blooming with lily and with rose,
    And the cool shining river so pleasant where he flows,
    White fields of oats and barley, and elderflower like foam,
    And the sky gold with sunset, and the horses going home!

    (Home, lad, home, all among the corn and clover!
    Home, lad, home when the time for work is over!
    Oh there's rest for horse and man when the longest day is done
    And they go home together at setting of the sun!)

    Old Captain, Prince and Blossom, I see them all so plain,
    With tasseled ear-caps nodding along the leafy lane,
    There's a bird somewhere calling, and the swallow flying low,
    And the lads sitting sideways, and singing as they go.

    Well gone is many a lad now, and many a horse gone too,
    Off all those lads and horses in those old fields I knew;
    There's Dick that died at Cuinchy and Prince beside the guns
    On the red road of glory, a mile or two from Mons!

    Dead lads and shadowy horses — I see them just the same,
    I see them and I know them, and name them each by name,
    Going down to shining waters when all the West's a-glow,
    And the lads sitting sideways and singing as they go.

    (Home, lad, home . . . with the sunset on their faces!
    Home, lad, home . . . to those quiet happy places!
    There's rest for horse and man when the hardest fight is done,
    And they go home together at setting of the sun!)
    England's dancing days are done...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    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.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Veterans Day Remembrances on NYT

    Lives During Wartime, Vol. 3


    Last week, the editors of Home Fires invited readers to send their recollections and photographs of members of the United States Armed Forces in acknowledgment of Veterans Day. Below is a selection of those remembrances submitted by friends and family of veterans, and from veterans themselves.


    Robert Burlison

    Robert in the poem is Robert Burlison, of Edmeston, N.Y., Company E, 397th Infantry Regiment, 100th Division, who died in France in January 1945 and is buried in the American Cemetery at Epinal, France. I owe my life to him.


    It seems unfair, considering all,
    That I am here in this place now
    With eighty summers on my brow
    And you are there in Epinal
    Among our comrades sleeping there,
    That I can hear the robins sing
    And see the almond tree in spring
    And you are there. It isn’t fair.

    Flowers, if you grow in Epinal,
    Grow near where Robert lies.
    I will dream that he has eyes
    And sees some fairness after all.

    Submitted by Philip C. Ellsworth, Cedaredge, Colo.


    John Palmieri and Michael Vouri

    My Vietnam buddy John Palmieri and I are shown together at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Tex., last summer It was an amazing reunion. From June 1968 to June 1969 John was on the flightline at Binh Thuy Air Base, while I was an O-1 Bird Dog crew chief at Cao Lanh in the Mekong Delta. We were the best of friends. In January 1969, John’s good friend, Pete, was killed instantly by the first round of a mortar attack. John was standing next to him, and while the concussion threw him into a bunker, numbing him for nearly 24 hours, he did not receive a scratch, which has left him emotionally scarred to this day. The following day my pilot was shot down and killed and a few months later I contracted dengue fever, losing 20 pounds. We ended up sitting together flying home, counting the hours to touchdown in the world. When we parted at Travis AFB, CA on June 15, 1969, we swore to stay in touch. We did: 42 years later. After a couple of hours, it was as if we’d never been apart. Some of it was painful, as we’d never expressed our conflicted emotions — not as 20 year-olds. We gained perspective and I hope a truer sense of peace with ourselves and those turbulent days.

    Submitted by Michael Vouri

    Much more with pictures at link:

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by marycarney View Post
    In Flanders fields the poppies blow

    "In Flanders Fields" was the first poem I ever memorized just to know it and keep it always - eighth grade I think it was.

    This was the second (I was quite the World War I fan in junior high):

    "I Have a Rendezvous with Death"
    Alan Seeger

    I have a rendezvous with Death
    At some disputed barricade,
    When Spring comes back with rustling shade
    And apple-blossoms fill the air—
    I have a rendezvous with Death
    When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

    It may be he shall take my hand
    And lead me into his dark land
    And close my eyes and quench my breath—
    It may be I shall pass him still.
    I have a rendezvous with Death
    On some scarred slope of battered hill,
    When Spring comes round again this year
    And the first meadow-flowers appear.

    God knows 'twere better to be deep
    Pillowed in silk and scented down,
    Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
    Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
    Where hushed awakenings are dear...
    But I've a rendezvous with Death
    At midnight in some flaming town,
    When Spring trips north again this year,
    And I to my pledged word am true,
    I shall not fail that rendezvous.
    Alan Seeger, an American, was killed in action at Belloy-en-Santerre on July 4, 1916; he was 28.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Four short ones by the English poet Siegfried Sassoon, who, after fighting valiantly and leading his men in the war's early years, decided he wanted out - he grew to feel that war was insane, particularly this war - and declared himself a conscientious objector, refusing to serve further. Eventually Sassoon, after a stint in a mental asylum in Scotland, returned to France. Soon after, he was shot in the head. He lived though, and in his bitterness and in his dark humor produced these small masterpieces about the Great War:

    Base Details

    If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath
    I'd live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
    And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
    You'd see me with my puffy petulant face,
    Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
    Reading the Roll of Honour. "Poor young chap,"
    I'd say -- "I used to know his father well;
    Yes, we've lost heavily in this last scrap."
    And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
    I'd toddle safely home and die -- in bed.

    The General

    ‘Good-morning; good-morning!’ the General said
    When we met him last week on our way to the line.
    Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ’em dead,
    And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
    ‘He’s a cheery old card,’ grunted Harry to Jack
    As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.
    . . . .
    But he did for them both by his plan of attack.


    The House is crammed: tier beyond tier they grin
    And cackle at the Show, while prancing ranks
    Of harlots shrill the chorus, drunk with din;
    ‘We’re sure the Kaiser loves our dear old Tanks!’

    I’d like to see a Tank come down the stalls,
    Lurching to rag-time tunes, or ‘Home, sweet Home’,
    And there’d be no more jokes in Music-halls
    To mock the riddled corpses round Bapaume.

    The Hero

    'Jack fell as he'd have wished,' the mother said,
    And folded up the letter that she'd read.
    'The Colonel writes so nicely.' Something broke
    In the tired voice that quavered to a choke.
    She half looked up. 'We mothers are so proud
    Of our dead soldiers.' Then her face was bowed.

    Quietly the Brother Officer went out.
    He'd told the poor old dear some gallant lies
    That she would nourish all her days, no doubt
    For while he coughed and mumbled, her weak eyes
    Had shone with gentle triumph, brimmed with joy,
    Because he'd been so brave, her glorious boy.

    He thought how 'Jack', cold-footed, useless swine,
    Had panicked down the trench that night the mine
    Went up at Wicked Corner; how he'd tried
    To get sent home, and how, at last, he died,
    Blown to small bits. And no one seemed to care
    Except that lonely woman with white hair.
    Last edited by wfgodot; 11-11-2011 at 08:16 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    On Battleship Hill
    And another Siegfried Sassoon

    Aftermath by Siegfried Sassoon

    Have you forgotten yet?...
    For the world's events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
    Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
    And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
    Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you're a man reprieved to go,
    Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
    But the past is just the same--and War's a bloody game...
    Have you forgotten yet?...
    Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you'll never forget.

    Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz--
    The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
    Do you remember the rats; and the stench
    Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench--
    And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
    Do you ever stop and ask, 'Is it all going to happen again?'

    Do you remember that hour of din before the attack--
    And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
    As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
    Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
    With dying eyes and lolling heads--those ashen-grey
    Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

    Have you forgotten yet?...
    Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you'll never forget.
    England's dancing days are done...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Philip Larkin's great Great War poem about the first days of the conflict, when it was felt by most that it would all be over by Christmas: "never such innocence again."


    Those long uneven lines
    Standing as patiently
    As if they were stretched outside
    The Oval or Villa Park,
    The crowns of hats, the sun
    On moustached archaic faces
    Grinning as if it were all
    An August Bank Holiday lark;

    And the shut shops, the bleached
    Established names on the sunblinds,
    The farthings and sovereigns,
    And dark-clothed children at play
    Called after kings and queens,
    The tin advertisements
    For cocoa and twist, and the pubs
    Wide open all day;

    And the countryside not caring
    The place-names all hazed over
    With flowering grasses, and fields
    Shadowing Domesday lines
    Under wheats' restless silence;
    The differently-dressed servants
    With tiny rooms in huge houses,
    The dust behind limousines;

    Never such innocence,
    Never before or since,
    As changed itself to past
    Without a word--the men
    Leaving the gardens tidy,
    The thousands of marriages
    Lasting a little while longer:
    Never such innocence again.

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