(originally published here on 11/11/10)
DreamersSoldiers are citizens of death's grey land,Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.In the great hour of destiny they stand,Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.Soldiers are sworn to action; they must winSome flaming, fatal climax with their lives.Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns beginThey think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives.
I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,And mocked by hopeless longing to regainBank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,And going to the office in the train.
-Siegfried Sassoon, 1918
Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982. He is holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who was killed in the Korean War.