Remembrance day commemorates the moment at 11:00 am on the 11th November 1918 when the "War to End Wars" ended. The ability of industrialised countries to slaughter each other industrially shocked what was then called the civilised world. The lesson of both the World Wars was that warfare - even necessary warfare in a good cause - kills people by the thousand or million. War is a horrific, terrible experience, and it is that that we remember.

Today, we remember everyone, guilty and innocent, soldier and civilian, brave and coward, hero and villian that was killed in war. Not just the British military deaths, but everyone; the gaelic football fans killed in Páirc an Chrócaigh in 1920, the Japanese citizens at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the British and German soldiers at the Somme in 1916, the ANZACs and Turks in Gallipoli in 1915, the Vietnamese at My Lai in 1968, even Reynhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942. War kills, and we should never forget that.

It's usual to quote Laurence Binyon, but I think the tone of this post is better met by Wilfred Owen:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Moving

Sep. 29th, 2010 09:29 pm
I am all excited. I put in an offer on a really nice flat. For those interested: this one (link will expire eventually).

It's half-an-hour's walk from work, instead of about 75 mins walk-train-drive, which has been exhausting me for years. Spare bedroom so people can come and stay and be friends. Local serves real beer. I'm thrilled, I might actually have a home, instead of living with my parents at 37.

pro Patria mori.

I am very fed up of people droning on about “heroes” who died.  What about the cowards – don’t we remember them too? And the civilians, and the other side.  I took great pleasure in including Heydrich in my personal remembrances on my other blog.  One of the most evil men ever to live, IMO, but we still remember that it was war that killed him too.  War is a devastating thing that we should always remember not to go into lightly.

Went to United,  3-3 draw with a great comeback in the last few minutes.  My back is a little sore from 2 hours folded up like origami, and then another hour in the car, but I am much improved – I’d have been in agony on Sunday.  I should manage normal mobility now; pain-free will be a while off.

Blagged a ticket from a supplier at work.

Hope my back is up to sitting in a really uncomfortable seat at Old Trafford for two hours.

Hope we score a lot so I have an excuse to stand up!

My back is still in a lot of pain, but is slowly recovering.  Fortunately, I had a week off work anyway, and since I’m recovering, I’ve not bothered the doctor with it.

Still really hurts, but I can sit up now – I have been OK standing up since Saturday, but sitting for more than a few minutes was agony until today.

I was walking across the road back to my office after lunch today when my back seized up in agony.

After trying to calm myself down and take some ibuprofen – which made very little difference, I left the office and came home.  I am now lying in bed with my laptop on my chest and the pain has gone.  I suspect it will be back if I sit up, though…

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November 2011

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