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Posts Tagged ‘Veteran’s Day’

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The suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame,

The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,

For Willie McBride, it all happened again,

And again, and again, and again, and again!

Eric Bogle,

 No Man’s Land (Green Fields of France)

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Another Armistice Day. We observe the day now as Veteran’s Day  or Remembrance Day in some other countries, recognizing with it the service of all veterans, living and dead. But originally it was observed to commemorate the end of combat in World War I, 100 years ago on this date in 1918.

The Great War.

The War to End All Wars.

If only.

Unfortunately, we humans have short memories and a poor grasp of history. The Great War was but a prelude to a another World War and in the years since, there have been a multitude of other wars, invasions,genocides and ethnic cleansings.

They seem to always begin with an act of aggression based on greed, ego, or some kind of racial, religious, or ethnic hatred. One nation envies what another nation possesses. One leader desires more power and self enrichment. People, spurred on by manipulative leaders, feel threatened by the existence of others, those who don’t share their race or religion or social beliefs.

It seems so long as we live in a world ruled by the greed, envy and fear of those who lead the nations of this world, war will always be near at hand.

It will remain a necessary evil until men stop exploiting other men.

And as such, the continued service and sacrifice of young men and women will be required.

Today is a day to honor those who serve and or have served their duty to this and other countries.

It is a day to remember how much has been given to us the living and how much has been taken from those who sacrificed their futures for the living.

A day to remind us all how fragile this world is and how each new war dishonors the veterans of the past and makes their sacrifice seem to have been made in vain.

Take a moment from your day and give it some thought. It is the least we can do.

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Before playing this week’s Sunday music, I have to note that our current president* cancelled his attendance at a ceremony yesterday because of rainy weather. It was an observance to honor  the US Marines of WWI who died at Belleau Wood in France. Yesterday was also was the 243rd anniversary of the formation of the Marines by the Continental Congress in 1775.

I am not a veteran so maybe you might think I have no standing to criticize. But looking back at the many relatives who served and sacrificed through the past near 400 years in this land, I am ashamed as an American and consider his absence in honoring these fallen soldiers a great dishonor to this country and those who have served it.

Thank god a little rain didn’t dissuade those soldiers from the duty they felt to this nation. I am sure that the weather will not prevent him from his cordial meeting with Putin today in Paris, on the 100th observance of Armistice Day.

The song today is from 1976 and was written by the Scottish Australian singer Eric Bogle. It is titled No Man’s Land and is also known as Green Fields of France. It tells the story of young soldier named Willie McBride who died in World War I. It was inspired by Bogle’s visits to the battlefield graveyards in Flanders and Northern France. It is a song that has been recorded by numerous artists but I chose this version from the Dropkick Murphys. It’s a well done version and the video is a moving document and tribute to those who died in that war.

A word of warning: This video contains graphic images from that war.

Have a good day…

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The-Best-Years-of-Our-Lives-  Dana WinterVeteran’s Day is coming up and I thought I might have an image that somewhat represents the experience of some vets on their return home.  In the 1946 movie, The Best Years of Our Lives, Dana Andrews‘ character, Fred, struggles on his return to his hometown and comes across a local airfield where they are junking old war planes from the recently ended World War II.  He crawls into an old B-17 bomber and takes his former seat in the front turret of the plane where he was a nose gunner.  He vividly relives for a brief moment the terror that was still haunting him, tainting every moment of his life.  The haunting image of Andrews appearing ghost-like in the nose of that B-17 is a powerful one in a movie filled with powerful scenes, one that doesn’t sugarcoat the experiences and hardships of the returning vets.  It remains relevant to this very day.

I thought for this Sunday’s musical interlude, I would play something in the spirit of this upcoming holiday.  It would be easy enough to play something patriotic but this isn’t really a holiday of nationalism and a call to arms.   No, this is a holiday that celebrates an end to war , namely World War I when the holiday was originated as Armistice Day, and honors the service of all soldiers with the hope that they will soon return home and resume their lives there.  This holiday honors those who have served and sacrificed so much, not the wars to which they are sent.

The song is Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya which is the original tune on which the Civil War era  song When Johnny Comes Marching Home is based.  While When Johnny Comes Marching Home is more celebratory and martial in tone, Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya is pointedly anti-war and mournful.  It was supposedly written in the 1790′s as a protest to the British imperialist invasion of Ceylon, present day Sri Lanka.  It tells of a young woman seeing her lover , who left her after their illegitimate child was born to join the army,  returning from war.  He is much changed in appearance and she mourns for his loss.

This is a very emotional version of the song from British opera and folk singer Benjamin Luxon accompanied by American Bill Crofut on banjo.  Have a great Sunday and gives some thought to the men and women who have given their time and their selves to serving their countries.  Let’s vow to treat them better.

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