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24 May 2013


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Alba Etie

May we all pause today , whether working or at leisure and remember to honor & hold dear in our memories our fallen service members .

Maureen Lang

Thank you for this post. Personal family loss is our nation's loss- that is what we need remember right now.

Wilfred Owen most assuredly appropriate to these times.

Lord Curzon

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.


Lord Curzon

"A Shropshire Lad" That is inscribed in the Washington Arch entrance to the cadet barracks at VMI. pl


To all those who did not survive the war, and all those who could not survive the peace.

Lord Curzon


Having heard much of the ethos of the Institute since I came to SST, I looked at the VMI website today, and when the time comes, am seriously considering it for my son. It would certainly make a change from the traditional British university!


Wilfred Owen, unlike Kipling, truly captures the life of those who fight wars.


Amen to your comments Colonel,
And agree with those who noted Wilfred Owen's work.

I have taken to reading about past U.S. battles on Memorial Day-doesn't matter whether WWI, WWII, the Revolution, the Civil War, Korea, Vietnam, or the Gulf, or whatever. When one contemplates the sacrifice of fellow servicemen/women, it is humbling and inspiring. Monday I will re-read the "River and the Gauntlet" by S.L.A. Marshall, the classic account of our initial defeat by Chinese forces in the Korean War. If you haven't read it, I do commend it.

David Habakkuk

Another British First World War poem, written after its conclusion by a survivor:


“In sodden trenches I have heard men speak,
Though numb and wretched, wise and witty things;
And loved them for the stubbornness that clings
Longest to laughter when Death's pulleys creak;

“And seeing cool nurses move on tireless feet
To do abominable things with grace,
Deemed them sweet sisters in that haunted place
Where, with child's voices, strong men howl or bleat.

“Yet now those men lay stubborn courage by,
Riding dull-eyed and silent in the train
To old men's stools; or sell gay-coloured socks
And listen fearfully for Death; so I
Love the low-laughing girls, who now again
Go daintily, in thin and flowery frocks.”

From an account of the author, Edgell Rickword:

“Rickword enlisted with the Artists' Rifles in 1916, one month before his eighteenth birthday. He reached the Front in January 1918, and his service during the last year of the War won him the Military Cross. Two months after the Armistice, while still in France, he developed septicaemia and lost his left eye. He was charged three guineas for the glass replacement.”

(See http://war-poets.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/edgell-rickword.html )

Ishmael Zechariah

"Lessons of the War" is a British WWII poem by Henry Reed who served as a Japanese translator during the war and survived. This poem has six parts: I-Naming of Parts, II-Judging Distances, III-Movement of Bodies, IV-Unarmed Combat,V-Psychological Warfare, VI-Returning of Issue.

Here is Part I, in memory of all those who went because they were sent and did not come back.

With respects,

Ishmael Zechariah


To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
And to-day we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For to-day we have naming of parts.

robt willmann

Here is a graphic with information and statistics from the Department of Defense, Census Bureau, and American Community Survey about veterans and numbers who served and died in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korean War, Vietnam "Era" (they call it), Gulf War Era, and Post-9/11 Era. The same thing is in the links below in different forms: html, pdf, pdf to print, and pdf with plain text files.






Lift not my head from this bloody ground/
Nor bear my body home/
For all the earth is Roman earth/
And I shall die in Rome



"Roma Victa!" (From "Gladiator")


May I suggest Paul Fussell's magisterial study "The Great War and Modern Memory," a book that captures better than any I know the shattering experience of war and the power of the written word.


Kipling was far from a mindless jingo. He knew the score:

Far-called our navies melt away—
On dune and headland sinks the fire—
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

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