Friday, November 11, 2005

sempre fidelis

Never forget.

Every year on Remembrance Day I read two poems. "In Flanders Fields" is the obvious choice. The other one I read is a less well known poem by Wilfred Owen "Dolce et Decorum Est". Both speak of war in the voices of those who've been there.

I particularly like the ending of "Dolce et Decorum" which wisely points out that if we truly understood how horiffic war is we wouldn't be so quick to encourage young boys that "it is good and sweet to die for one's country." It is not good, or sweet. It is horrific and heroic and I dearly wish that it was never, ever necessary. But we do not live in a world of wishes. And although I cannot really comphrehend it, there have been those men and women who have stood up and said "I'll go." Sempre fidelis, always faithful. Never forget.

1 comment:

Mom said...

Hi Claire,

I remember learning Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori at school but unfortunately I only remember the above line. I always found it moving.

I think women are a little more insulated against the hype that accompanies war. Most of us lack the "hero" gene that runs strong in men. I don't know if its culture or genes actually but men are far more likely to fight for something they believe is right or necessary.

That's not to say that women are less courageous or patriotic but I think we are generally more cautious. The French underground was full of women who risked their lives serving their country. Of course today we have women who are in combat situations too.

I will always be grateful to those who served in wars on my behalf. Our family has been blessed to physically survive almost intact thru the 2 world wars.

The only fatality that I know of was one of Grandpa's half-sisters, Annie, who was killed by a bomb as she was walking home from work. My Uncles all went off to war and all returned but both Grandfathers, although they returned alive from the trenches of World War 1, never recovered emotionally. Neither one was able to return to their former occupation. Grandad Darley was able to work as a night watchman but Grandad Whitmore never worked again. They both died before I was one so I didn't have the opportunity to hear their stories.

Time I got on with my day.
Much love, Mom XX