Fields of France


I know this is terrible but I forgot that it was Remembrance Day. Fortunately Nobody Important and Living on the Edge reminded me of it with wonderful posts which both quoted from the poem by the Canadian doctor, John McCrae, who served in France during World War 1. I hope I will be forgiven for posting this a day late.

I have never experienced war and I am so grateful for that. It may seem strange with all the fear and insecurity since 9/11 but in fact 2009 was one of the most peaceful years. The Human Security Report found that between 1992 and 2005, armed conflict dropped by 40% and high casualty wars by 80%. Only terrorism incidents have been on the increase. Nevertheless, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), there were 17 armed conflicts in 2009. So it would seem that the world is never really at peace, even in the best of years.

It is sad that the “war to end wars”, did not really do so. I suppose evil, greed, pride, hate and bigotry will never disappear and therefore neither will war. But the more we remember the painful human costs and the sacrifices made by young men and women, perhaps we can reduce the times that we rush into war. And so, here is remembering those who fell in the service of their countries and in the cause of good and right and peace.

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12 thoughts on “Fields of France”

  1. Oh, how we pray for peace but it doesn’t come. We take so many of our youth and allow them to be killed. We spread hate and try to say we are better than someone else.
    That is the stupidity of man.
    Honor the vet. He came home but he wasn’t alone. He lives with the memories of friends that didn’t come home.

  2. Visit Soldier’s Mail and take a rollicking World War I adventure along with a young New England doughboy on the front lines from the hot sands along the Rio Grande to the cold mud along the Meuse. Remember the Fallen…

  3. Joyce,
    Such wonderful words. Vets survived but are still victims of war.

    Laura,
    It’s quite an old song and less famous than John McCrae’s poem but its words does even more to lament the fact that wars seem no closer to being a thing of history.

  4. Soldier’s Mail,
    Thanks for your comment. I visited your site and it is a very impressive labor of love.

    Mago,
    I am glad we did not live in that period of slaughter but we must be vigilant that it does not come round again. Over here, it was not that far away and that long ago that we had the Killing Fields of Cambodia.

  5. Hard to forget about Armistice as it is a national holiday in France. I wasn’t aware of that at all until I realized that the school is off on November 11 and I googled trying to understand why. At home Armistice is neither commemorated nor mentioned at all, even though we had quite an eventful participation in the WWI. Hell, we even started it!

  6. Yes lets not forget and hope that mankind comes to its senses. It does seem they don’t learn easily. I heard many stories about the war from my parents. Luckily they had enough to eat as they lived in the rural area

  7. Thank you friend squirrel… for some of us here in France, the Great War is never far from the surface. War memorials abound, cemeteries too, plaques on tombs, the labored earth in many places still shows scars, the forts of Verdun still standing, stone quarries with soldier’s graffiti carved in the walls. Still very much a living memory, the the last veterans from that war are gone. One still alive in the USA apparently, at 109… To quote from another great song about WWI, Waltzing Matilda… “A tired old soldier from a tired old war”…

  8. The dreadful slaughter that followed by some 60 years the other dreadful slaughter that introduced mechanized weapons to the world, the U.S. Civil War. I guess it’s appropriate that the U.S. was also the first and only nation to use the ultimate slaughtering machine, the atom bomb.

  9. Jelica,
    You guys were just the excuse for the big bash up. I always thought of it as a family feud. As you know, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and King George V of UK were all first cousins and were grandchildren of Queen Victoria. Some children just don’t play well together.

    Marja,
    I am guessing your parents were still in the Netherlands during the war? It must have been harrowing times.

  10. Owen,
    There are newer wars and newer scars to remember now. Other veterans to honor. New heroes too, like Medicins sans frontiers.

    Mr. Charleston,
    Many people died in wars between puppet states of the Cold War Superpowers. War by proxy. That sucks big time with me. One hopes that as far as the nuclear bomb, never again.

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