It's Armistice Day. And in honour of the many who lost their lives in all the terrible, bloody wars
And in honour of the many who lost their lives in all the terrible, bloody wars , I think the words of Wilfred Owen (18 March 1893 4 November 1918) say it best.
DULCE ET DECORUM EST
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.
One is buried here at VILLERS STATION CEMETERY, VILLERS-AU-BOIS
on June 3rd, 1917
It's lovely peaceful little cemetery in the middle of the French Countryside. He was fighting in the Canadian 50th Battalion, but he was an Irishman from Cork City, having emigrated to Vanderhoof, B.C. just a few years earlier. In preparation for going into France, they were initially stationed back in his home town (!) of Cork City. During that brief period, he married my Grandaunt (I think they knew each other previously), and they had about 8 weeks as man and wife before he was shipped off to France, where he died 5 months later. She never remarried, and lived with us at her death in 1975.
Her brother Joe (Royal Navy), was killed 6 months later in the Great Halifax Explosion on Dec 6th 1917, in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Just attended the Armistice Day ceremony in Aix-en-Provence and all the services were represented. Including the police, firemen, and military school.