Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day 2009

Beyond Veterans Day, beyond Armistice Day, beyond Remembrance Day, it is wise to know of this day as one that transcends all nations and all nationalities. But I know this will not happen much. Too easy to think only of one's own nation in one's own time, with little thought of the past or the future, or even the contextualized present. That is our curse, the curse of humankind.

I've seen so many military cemeteries, and they are all the same, from the Little Big Horn to Gettysburg, Antietam to Verdun.

Armistice Day, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, in the War to End All Wars gave a brief lull, and only in Western Europe.

The cemetery below is part of the Douaumont Ossuary near Verdun. The scale of killing there was industrialized and hideous. Artillery ground tens of thousands of human beings into pieces; you can see bone fragments and skulls stacked inside the central building -- the unidentified remains of 130,000 people killed at Verdun. Vast rows of crosses, minarets and Star of David headstones populate "silent cities." Religions segregated in death, their adherents having fought with and against each other. The different empires drew troops from around the world to fight for them: the British drew Canadians, Indians, Australians, New Zealanders and so on; the French drew Vietnamese, Algerians, Tunisians; from Morocco, 15,000 died fighting on behalf of France. Important details, largely forgotten or unknown. The devil is in the details.

I can scarce believe we'll ever see an end to war, though the past gives up so many examples for study we need not ever fight again and still have an endless supply to look back on. Apparently, though, war is a collective addiction. There can never be enough.
Today's Rune: Flow.


ivan said...

Come you masters of war

Either by Dylan or Green Day

Charles Gramlich said...

War is almost an entity, perhaps a weed of some kind. It cannot be killed out, and can only be held at bay for a short time. It always finds new growth it seems.

the walking man said...

Since the beginning of such things as writing and record keeping I doubt there has been more than ten contiguous years of time where there was no mass murder termed war or police action.

It is the nature of the ever present but ultimately already decided battle between good and evil.

jodi said...

Erik, War. I hate it, it's ineffective. What's left to say?

Cloudia said...

Well done.

Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral