Thursday, November 10, 2005

Lest We Forget

Eighty-seven years ago, a war ended.

Not just any war. World War I. The War To End All Wars.

If only.

Who started it and why no longer seems important to me, but there are other bloggers and lots of websites you can go read if you want the history of the thing. My personal recommends:

Candace has done some excellent posts for the past couple of weeks. Go visit her site and read them, starting here; good stuff! She also did some searching for women in war and their roles -- something not a lot of people think about (especially women spies).

DazzlinDino is doing a series on Vimy, focusing on the men who did the fighting. Start reading here, and keep going...

A few people have posted In Flanders Fields by John McCrae. I found Reply to Flanders Fields by John Mitchell:

Reply to Flanders Fields

Oh! sleep in peace where poppies grow;
The torch your falling hands let go
Was caught by us, again held high,
A beacon light in Flanders sky
That dims the stars to those below.
You are our dead, you held the foe,
And ere the poppies cease to blow,
We'll prove our faith in you who lie
In Flanders Fields.
Oh! rest in peace, we quickly go
To you who bravely died, and know
In other fields was heard the cry,
For freedom's cause, of you who lie,
So still asleep where poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields.

As in rumbling sound, to and fro,
The lightning flashes, sky aglow,
The mighty hosts appear, and high
Above the din of battle cry,
Scarce heard amidst the guns below,
Are fearless hearts who fight the foe,
And guard the place where poppies grow.
Oh! sleep in peace, all you who lie
In Flanders Fields.

And still the poppies gently blow,
Between the crosses, row on row.
The larks, still bravely soaring high,
Are singing now their lullaby
To you who sleep where poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

Check out other interesting articles on this page, including a poem called Please Wear a Poppy.

And for those of you who are into music, go find a song called And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda. Written by Eric Bogle back in 1971, it tells the story of a young Australian and his adventures at Gallipoli. I first heard it sung by Liam Clancy. You can find the lyrics with Google. But to truly appreciate the song and all the emotion it can command, you need to hear it. I've heard others sing it, including Eric Bogle. And no one does it badly, but Liam does it best. You can find it on an album called Makem & Clancy Collection.

And finally, a video:

Click on "Lyrics" at the top of the page, and then MP3 or Real Audio to activate the music video. Don't forget to read the story of how and why he wrote the song. Keep your hankie handy...

Two minutes of silence. One hundred and twenty seconds. Surely, we can afford that in order to honor those who are now forever silent?


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