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  • #2276327

    The First Two Minute Silence in London


    by oz_media ·

    The First Two Minute Silence in London

    The first stroke of eleven produced a magical effect.
    The tram cars glided into stillness, motors ceased to cough and fume, and stopped dead, and the mighty-limbed dray horses hunched back upon their loads and stopped also, seeming to do it of their own volition.
    Someone took off his hat, and with a nervous hesitancy the rest of the men bowed their heads also. Here and there an old soldier could be detected slipping unconsciously into the posture of ‘attention’. An elderly woman, not far away, wiped her eyes, and the man beside her looked white and stern. Everyone stood very still … The hush deepened. It had spread over the whole city and become so pronounced as to impress one with a sense of audibility. It was a silence which was almost pain … And the spirit of memory brooded over it all.
    ~~From the Manchester Guardian, 12th November 1919.~~


    In Flanders field the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.
    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.
    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.
    ~~By Major John McCrae, May 1915.~~


    We remember Lord, we remember: we remember ships tossed in the air by explosions, we remember men, our friends, falling beside us…. we remember telegrams coming to the doors of our neighbours, husbands taken from our arms never to return; sons whom we feared for every day. We remember a lot, we remember….

    – Loving Father – help us in our memories – ease us in the pain of them, without causing us to forget.

    – Lord God – we remember the costs, remind us too of the victory – of what was won by our comrades and by fellow countrymen;

    – And finally Lord God – be with all those who are facing war this day – our men and woman at sea and on land and in the air in the mid-east; and be with the rulers of this world and all the world’s citizens, that we may learn and live the way of peace with justice, we ask it Jesus’ name – AMEN

    Lest we forget


    Many thanks to Elaine –

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3313480

      Thanks Oz …..

      by jardinier ·

      In reply to The First Two Minute Silence in London

      Well do I remember this day of remembrance and thanks from my earliest days at school.

      And I was just discussing it today with my Pommie neighbour.

      Americans and Candians may not be aware that the principal day of remembrance in Australia is Anzac Day.

      ANZAC was the name given to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers who landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey early on the morning of 25 April 1915 during the First World War (1914-1918).

      As a result, one day in the year has involved the whole of Australia in solemn ceremonies of remembrance, gratitude and national pride for all our men and women who have fought and died in all wars. That day is ANZAC Day – 25 April.

      Like it says: ALL men and women who have fought and died in ALL wars. Vietnam vets also proudly participate in the grand parade which follows a dawn service in each city.

    • #3313329

      Brings tears to my eyes

      by gralfus ·

      In reply to The First Two Minute Silence in London

      There is something deep when a whole nation acts together to remember those who bought their freedom. The quibbling and debates stop for a bit while we reflect on the deep loss and gain purchased with blood.

    • #3313303

      When will it ever end?

      by dc_guy ·

      In reply to The First Two Minute Silence in London

      From the letters column in Liberty magazine, November 2004

      Those who feel the preemptive surprise attack on Iraq, which killed thousands of civilians, was morally justified sincerely believe the following:

      1. Saddam Hussein was a nasty man.
      2. Iraq might be giving aid and support to our enemies.
      3. Iraq might possess chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.
      4. Iraq had oil; even though we were getting along without Iraqi oil, they might disrupt our access to affordable oil.

      I am old enough to remember December 7, 1941, when Japan staged a preemptive surprise attack on the U.S., killing 254 civilians. The Japanese sincerely believed the following — all of which except the first have turned out to be indisputably true:

      1. Franklin Roosevelt was a nasty man.
      2. The U.S. was giving aid and support to Japan’s enemies, e.g., sending planes and pilots to China and naval units into Japanese waters.
      3. The U.S. had huge stocks of chemical weapons and a military organization named the U.S. Army Chemical Corps; it had biological weapons and was supplying anthrax to the British; it did not yet have nuclear weapons but the Manhattan Project was underway and would ultimately be successful.
      4. The U.S. had oil which Japan could not get along without; in conjunction with Britan and the Netherlands the U.S. disrupted ALL of Japan’s oil supply.

      Japan was conforming strictly to modern American legal and moral standards. War is war, but perhaps we owe them an apology for that slanderous hyperbole about a “Day of Infamy.”

      –Erik Buck
      Liberty, MO

      • #3313617

        We knew in advance that Pearl Harbor would be attacked.

        by admin ·

        In reply to When will it ever end?

        We choose to not take action and it propelled us into that great war with huge popular support.

        Time and de-classification may tell what really happened on 9/11 and it will not be surprising if history remembers this detail in the same manner- especially if you study John P. O’Neill’s work and his tragic (and ironic) death in the towers.

        • #3312737

          crazy conspiracy theories

          by montgomery gator ·

          In reply to We knew in advance that Pearl Harbor would be attacked.

          I guess you believe in black helicopters, Area 51, and that the Illuminati are behind it all, also. Franklin Roosevelt and George W. Bush both took appropriate actions after sneak attacks for which they had no advance warning.

        • #3312678

          You obviously know nothing….

          by admin ·

          In reply to crazy conspiracy theories

          You obviously know nothing about JP O’Neil. He was a very real person and the question already historically is NOT whether parts of our government knew, but which parts and which people at what times. That is why the Bush administration shuffled around in an attempt to improve communication between the FBI, CIA and other agencies for homeland security. This is real stuff that really happened.

          BTW- I do believe in Area 51. I know people that worked there. There were some wild aircraft going in and out of there- so much so that at different times they would seem quite “alien” to most people.

          Have you studied any history? What did you think of the United Staters of America sinking the Maine ACTIVELY instead of passively letting someone else do it to get us into that war… is that a Crazy Conspiracy Theory” too? ~LoL~

          You need to read some history.

        • #3312617

          Sinking of the Maine was an accident

          by montgomery gator ·

          In reply to You obviously know nothing….

          There you go on your crazy theories, even bringing in the Maine. While it has been shown that Spain was not responsible for sinking the Maine, that the Hearst papers use the incident to flame the fires to war, the USS Maine sank due to a boiler accident. No one purposely sank it, it was an accident, as later investigations by the Navy indicated. You just proved my point about believing in crazy conspiracy theories with your Area 51 remarks. You probably believe in the second gunman in the grassy knoll, that J Edgar Hoover was behind the Kennedy assassination, that there was a coverup with Project Bluebook, that Anastasia survived the murder of the Romanovs but was suppressed by the English Royal Family, that Jack the Ripper was the Duke of Clarence, and other wild conspiracy theories. Next, you will be teling me that the Austria-Hungary was behind the assassination of their own Archduke Ferdinand in order to have an excuse to invade Serbia, and that the fluoridation of water is a Communist plot, and that the Freemasons control international banking.

        • #3312593

          ~LoL~ Even the Library of Congress says its unknown! ~LoL~

          by admin ·

          In reply to Sinking of the Maine was an accident

          “An official U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry reported on March 28 that the ship, one of the first American battleships and built at a cost of more than two million dollars, had been blown up by a mine without laying blame on any person or nation in particular, but public opinion in the United States blamed the Spanish military occupying Cuba anyway. Subsequent diplomatic communications failed to resolve the matter, leading to the start of the Spanish-American War by the end of April.”

          ” On February 15, 1898, an explosion of unknown origin sank the battleship U.S.S. Maine in the Havana, Cuba harbor, killing 266 of the 354 crew members. The sinking of the Maine incited United States passions against Spain, eventually leading to a naval blockade of Cuba and a declaration of war. ”

          Funny thing is, Hymans late report from the 70’s ruled out Torpedos or Mines, but listed no cause other than an internal explosion. What you speak was given at a cemetary memorial in 1998. Rear Admiral Morton E. Toole said:””It makes no difference whether the explosion was caused internally by coal or externally by a mine, the fact is 266 Americans died.”
          Which is a good point and well and good at a memorial, but the fact is that the report specified it could not of been external, so mines are ruled out, and the only reason coal came up is that people can’t fathom that an explosion happened and are reaching for a reasonable explaination without considering the possibilities rationally or fairly.

          Watch the fourth building fall in the Twin Towers (it wasn’t hit). There’s a possibilty for good discussion, but Bluebook, area 51 aliens- spare me…

          Are you saying it was absolutely 100% true to fact that it was a boiler accident? If that is true you are apparantly the only person in the world that can prove it. Why haven’t you yet? If you can it would be good to get it cleared up and I (and many others) would like to accept this. Unfortunately, we can’t.

          You are right about the Hearst papers though. They definately made that whole thing a lot worse by blaming a country that was in no way responsible for the accident. That seems to be agreed upon even at our Naval History Museum. We made a mistake using the Maine to get in that war.

          Your blanket disbelief of everything that is not de-facto standard public opinion is the real conspiracy theory mind in action here. How you can believe everything is neat and clean is beyond me. It isn’t. You are just blowing smoke and bring irrelevant material in an effort to hide from what may really turn out to be true, Have you looked up the life of John P. O’Neil yet? Once you develop an understanding of it you will probably find it fascinating 🙂

      • #3312738

        If Japan did not invade China

        by montgomery gator ·

        In reply to When will it ever end?

        Two different situations. Japan had invaded China, we were helping China defend itself by disrupting Japan’s oil supply. Japan could have gotten us to end the boycott by withdrawing from China. Japan was the agressor and we were helping the victims. The United States liberated Iraq and removed a vicious dictator from power that was threatening the entire region. Saddam Hussein was the agressor and we are helping the victims. Fortunately, things are much different now in Japan, and they are now one of our best allies with us in Iraq, helping to bring freedom and democracy to the Mideast.

        • #3313051

          We Americans know nothing of history

          by dc_guy ·

          In reply to If Japan did not invade China

          The feud between Japan and China was — and is — hundreds of years old. It probably goes back to early in the First Millennium C.E. when Chinese monks “civilized” Japan by overlaying it with Chinese culture, just as they did in Korea and Vietnam.

          America’s total history as a people goes back a bit more than 200 years. Except for those of us with Indian blood, none of our ancestors was even here when most of the pivotal events in the history of the rest of the world were taking place. The occupation of huge swaths of Asia, Africa, and Europe by various invading armies, the religious conflicts, the Dark Ages.

          Most of us know nothing about events that took place before our grandparents were alive. To claim to understand a foreign conflict well enough to be able to choose the “righteous” side is downright silly and pure hubris.

          As a Mideastern friend once told me: “If you say that the Jews have a right to Palestine because it is their ancestral home, then you must give Arizona back to the Indians. If you say that the Palestinians have a right to it because it has been their home for so long that possesion trumps history — then you must give Arizona back to the Mexicans.”

        • #3313035


          by admin ·

          In reply to We Americans know nothing of history

          No one has “rights” to land by heredity historically. The native people in any area haven’t always been there, nor always will be.

    • #3312928

      Here’s an old and still true one from Kipling

      by mlandis ·

      In reply to The First Two Minute Silence in London

      My father enjoyed some of Kipling’s writings: the following was his favorite – in answer to Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade” – I think he might have had it in school:

      The Last of the Light Brigade
      There were thirty million English who talked of England’s might,
      There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
      They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
      They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

      They felt that life was fleeting; they kuew not that art was long,
      That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
      They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
      And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four!

      They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
      Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
      And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, “Let us go to the man who writes
      The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites.”

      They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
      To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
      And, waiting his servant’s order, by the garden gate they stayed,
      A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.

      They strove to stand to attention, to straighen the toil-bowed back;
      They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
      With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
      They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.

      The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and “Beggin’ your pardon,” he said,
      “You wrote o’ the Light Brigade, sir. Here’s all that isn’t dead.
      An’ it’s all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin’ the mouth of hell;
      For we’re all of us nigh to the workhouse, an’ we thought we’d call an’ tell.

      “No, thank you, we don’t want food, sir; but couldn’t you take an’ write
      A sort of ‘to be conbnued’ and ‘see next page’ o’the fight?
      We think that someone has blundered, an’ couldn’t you tell’em how?
      You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now.”

      The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
      And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with “the sconrn of scorn.”
      And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
      Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shamme.

      O thirty million English that babble of England’s might,
      Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
      Our children’s children are lisping to “honour the charge they made –”
      And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!

      In America, it is because of the Civil War that awareness of the veteran’s plight became known. Those who fought as Americans in the American Revolution were celebrated heroes. As opposed to Tories – many Tories went back to England or went off to different English colonies, including Canada. Others pulled up stakes and went westward. I would imagine it was the same in the War of 1812 waged against England on America’s shores and harbors, where again, it was a war defining America as her own country.(That’s the war where the White House had been burned down.)

      (Enlightenment and knowledge of the treatment of veterans of the War of 1812 would be welcomed and appreciated.)

      Memorial day was first celebrated in 1868 honoring those who fought the American Civil War. Even after almost 140 years, it does not mean that there is a terrific support system in place for veterans, or that all veterans’ needs are met. Maybe it is because so many who served in the Civil War were not American born. (German, Irish etc.) Perhaps it began this way here simply because the American-born soldiers who served here were considered good citizens, regular people, held to a higher standard than the rest of us.

      If anything, the veterans of Korea are second class ‘veterans’ and are not technically members of the “VFW” ( veterans of foreign wars.) I don’t know why exactly. My Uncle was a vet of that conflict.

      The veterans of the Pacific theater in WWII are not recognized in the same way as those who served in WWII Europe. Vietnam? The Gulf? Bosnia? Now Afghanistan and Iraq? I missed one or two – the soldiers’ service, no matter how well performed or how well given, becomes tainted with the politcal entanglements and opinions of the contemporary, sometimes contemptuous, civilian world.

      PS. Back to Kipling – I like to have fun with those who recite “Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair, then Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, was he? etc.” When asked do they know who fuzzy wuzzy was, they have no idea of the origins of the phrase or the story either.

      • #3312722

        1812, Tories et al

        by jamesrl ·

        In reply to Here’s an old and still true one from Kipling

        During the American Revolution, it was not only “english” who considered themselves Loyalists. Among those who left the colonies(some driven out by terror tactics – tar and feathering, riding out on a rail) were Dutch, German settlers, Black Freemen and many Natives(Iroquois mostly) who trusted the British more than the Rebels.

        The British veterans of the Revolution who came to Canada were given land grants, as were the Natives. And that really began the growth and establishment of Canada.

        As for 1812 – I have weighed in on this many times it seems her on TR. We Canadians have an entirely different perspective. For us, we read the Monroe doctrine, the congressional speeches of the warhawks(mostly from southern states), and we come to a different conclusion. For us, 1812 was about protecting our sovereignty from an expansionist US. And we owe much to the Natives, Canadian militiamen, and British soliders who fought off American attacks on our soil.

        And don’t give us too much credit for burning down the White House – it was inspired by the fact that when the Americans invaded York(now Toronto) they burnt down the parliament building. Washington was invaded by British Marines, and the act was really to draw troops away from the Canadian border. Same can be said for the New Orleans campaign – the object was not to take and keep American land, it was to force the US to move forces off the Northern Frontier and garrison them in the south.

        Sadly, Tecumseh, the great Native leader who fought valiantly for Canada died in battle, and the agreements to provide the natives a land of their own died with him. That is to our shame. Again British veterans of the war of 1812 were encouraged to stay and settle here and so they did.

        Canada has had its own share of forgotten Veterans. In WWI, Canada played a pivotal role, and Canadian troops played a major role in the key battles of the Western Front. By the time the war ended, Canadian troops were considered elite shock troops, often used to take the toughest objectives.

        In WWII, the Canadians in the Italian campaign fought some of the toughest battles of the war, and after the Normandy invasion, were mostly ignored.

        The Canadian government never recognized the Korean war as anything but a police action, and so no memorial was funded until recently.

        Canadians have participated in virtually every UN peacekeeping missions for close to 50 years, and many have not come home. Canadian troops fought a 2 day pitched battle in Bosnia to save a safe zone from being overrun, and almost no one remembers. And at that time, our biggest ally, the US sat on the sidelines, until the Dayton accord was hammered out.

        Canadians fought in Afghanistan, along side the Americans. Four were killed by a US pilot, while on a live fire exercise, just a few kilometers from their base. Others have been killed by mines. While we stayed out of the Iraq war, we lead the naval operations in the persian gulf, ensuring that weapons and terrorists were not coming into the region by ship.

        I listened on the radio today to a WWI vet(only a handful left alive in Canada, all over 100 years old) and I can’t imagine what they lived through. But it makes me want to thank them, often, for what we have today.


        • #3312588

          What an answer!

          by mlandis ·

          In reply to 1812, Tories et al

          Thanks for taking the time.

          The war of 1812 doesn’t get too much press in the American history books. The American attacks and skirnmishes along the northern frontiers are practically ignored, but we are taught about New Orleans and the White House. I’ll admit to the gaps in my knowledge of this history of the North American continent, when taken as a whole. I think I have to read a Canadian history book to fully flesh out the scant details I do remember.

          I know the differences between some of the American history as it was taught to me at school, and some of the differing views of countries affected by American action and/or decision. Precisely because my parents were educated in Ireland with family in England, I was more aware of those other histories than I was of the history of the country to our north. I had some idea of French Canadian history, but that is only because I went to a Catholic school, which taught history from a Catholic viewpoint, contrasting greatly with the public school curriculum.

          An example: When asked which country was the first to have colonies in North America, I was taught Spain in Florida 1519, followed by France (in Canada? 1526,) then followed by England. Many young American children would tell you that the first settlements were Roanoke, Jamestown and Plymouth, all English settlements that are within the boundaries of the original 13 colonies. The other histories are omitted and bypassed at the lower levels.

          The Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny are skimmed over in the elementary and high schools, and how our adjoining neighbors to the north, south and west perceived these philosophies is not discussed at all.

          Some Americans hold fast to the belief that our history is pristine and above reproach, as that was the pablum taught in the elementary and secondary schools, the comfortable history as written by the victor and victorious. It is only within the last decade or so that some of the darker aspects of American history are being discussed with the younger students.

          Now I’ll have to read up on it!

        • #3313282

          You are right, depends on your point of view

          by montgomery gator ·

          In reply to What an answer!

          I was born and raised in Florida, and there we were taught the first permanent European settlement in what is now the continental USA was Florida, with St. Augustine in 1565. (The 1519 date was the Ponce De Leon expedition, the first European exploration of Florida.) I visited St. Augustine a couple of years ago, and the tour guide was a descendent of one of the original Spanish settlers from 1565. I guess Virginia emphasizes its founding at Jamestown in 1607, which the Yankee textbooks ignore or give little mention about along with St. Augustine, in promoting the piddlingly small Plymouth settlement, which did not amount too much when you consider it was absorbed by the Massachusetts colony a few years later, while Virginia and Florida still exist as separate states. I thought it strange how in general the Thanksgiving holiday puffs up the Plymouth history, while ignoring that Jamestown and St. Augustine were founded many years before, and had their own Thanksgiving celebrations for years before the Plymouth colony. The Plymouth descendents must have a better public relations campaign.

        • #3313275

          May I also add in the spirit of Veterans/Armistice Day

          by montgomery gator ·

          In reply to You are right, depends on your point of view

          The Florida National Guard traces its history all the way back to 1565 to St. Augustine as the oldest military unit in what is now the United States, to the colonial militia, with continuity through over 400 years of Spanish, English, then Spanis again, then USA, then Confederate, then USA (again) rule, serving in various wars to the present. The Florida National Guard still has its headquarters in St. Augustine in the St. Francis Barracks, which were the colonial headquarters for the militia since the early 1700s.

        • #3313249

          What a beautiful city St. Augustine is!

          by mlandis ·

          In reply to You are right, depends on your point of view

          Thanks for the date correction.

          Until I had gone there as a tourist 16 years ago, I never knew that Greeks were a vital part of the original settlement.

          Why is the Jamestown settlement given such short shrift? I guess if one takes into account that Jamestown was a business enterprise, and Plymouth was truly a one way ticket and had famiies in the contingent that it may explain some of the difference.

          Yankee indeed! You gave me a good laugh with that one.

          Florida – I do understand. The competition among Catholic Spain, Protestant England, Protestant Holland and Catholic France to settle as much of the North American Continent as possible was fierce and bitter. Even if the “founding fathers” parted ways with the crown, they still found more common ground with England and Englishmen, than they could ever find with colonists from different cultures and religious beliefs.

          It is this kind of mindset that have created the veterans we honor today.

          Sad, isn’t it?

        • #3313117

          St Augustine and Ft Caroline

          by montgomery gator ·

          In reply to What a beautiful city St. Augustine is!

          Regarding the conflict of the colonial powers, St Augustine was founded in response to the French colony of Ft Caroline in what is now Jacksonville in 1562. After the Spanish massacred the French there, they founded St Augustine. The Spanish may have been motivated to kill all the French colonists because not only were they from a rival colonial power, but they were also Protestants (Huguenots) who left France to flee persecution, but were allowed to found a colony in the name of France by the French king. The French colonists had also gotten involved in the wars between the native tribes, siding with one tribe against another.

        • #3313105

          Ft. Caroline

          by mlandis ·

          In reply to St Augustine and Ft Caroline


          No surprise to you, I’ll bet, but I never heard of it. I guess the books I had didn’t want to discuss that there were French protestants killed by Spain.

          Believe me, my school books made it seem as if the Spaniards were the Saviors of the native peoples, by bringing them some Christianity, as opposed to their conquerers and worse.

          I did know there were French settlements within the “Louisana Purchase” territory, but knew nothing of Fort Caroline.

          I’ll be buried in books for ages!


        • #3313266

          I highly recommend

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to What an answer!

          The Incredible War of 1812.

          Great book, unfortunately loaned my copy and have not replaced it. It puntures many of the myths of the War – that the American Navy reigned supreme in the great lakes(it was back and forth the whole time), – that the whole US was for war(the yankees were against it, and secretly continued traded with Canada).

          If anything Canada’s identity was forged in the war. The presumption, not only by Americans, but by the British and even many Canadians, was that Canada would not put up a big defense. Many recent colonists had been Americans who came to Canada for economic not political reasons. No one expected the valiant efforts of the natives, which helped turn the tide of many battles. Once York was invaded and the city looted and burned, attitudes towards the Americans hardened, and Canadian resolve increased.

          I’ve been luck enough to visit many of the battlesites in southern Ontario. I grew up 5 miles from one. And I have visited the forts at Niagara, Kingtson and Quebec City.

          I wouldn’t say that the War of 1812, and the US interpretation was “dark” per se, just biased. And we all are biased, even me.


        • #3313196

          The Library system has it!

          by mlandis ·

          In reply to I highly recommend

          It takes a few days to get a book from one of the other libraries.

          I can’t wait.


    • #3312922

      Thanks Oz, to add..

      by ippirate ·

      In reply to The First Two Minute Silence in London

      They shall grow not old
      As we that are left grow old.
      Age shall not wear them
      Nor the years condemn.
      At the going down of the sun
      And in the morning
      We will remember them.

      —- Laurence Binyon

      God bless my friends, my comrades, my brothers. Our hearts remember and our eyes pay tribute with salt bittered tears.

    • #3312742

      Thanks on behalf of my Grandfather

      by montgomery gator ·

      In reply to The First Two Minute Silence in London

      My Grandfather served in The Great War 1914-1918 (WWI as it is now called). He had immigrated to the US in 1912, but did his duty to King and Country and returned to England in 1914 and served in the artillery in Belgium. He then came back to the United States once the war was over, where he met a woman whose family immigrated from Cornwall (my Grandmother), making it possible for my father, then me and my brothers, to be born.

    • #3311513

      It’s a Painful Issue

      by olprof67 ·

      In reply to The First Two Minute Silence in London

      I was finishing my education, and dealing with a lot of the natural “lowering of expectations” common to that stage of life, during the same years that the veterans of World War I were passing from the scene in the greatest numbers.

      I remember their persistence in referring to it as “Armistice Day”, even though the Armistice turned out to be one of the most bitter of history’s broken promises.

      And I also have to note that this was the first group of Americans who were (generally) forced to fight in a total, industrialized war on foreign soil.

      And as is always the case, it was the most obedient, the most unquestioning, the most inarticulate, who sometimes paid the hghest price.

      So our politicians tried to compensate by borrowing from the monarchs’ and dictators’ inventory — by offering compensations, first a bonus, then the more enlightened GI bill after World War II.

      And that mistake, while well-intentioned, further blurred the line between love of one’s country, and allegiance to a bureaucratic state.

      After two global bloodbaths, and any number of brushfire actions, we have come a long way back in the right direction; we have abolished the contradiction/obscenity of the draft, and friends of mine within the military advise me that the delicate issue of questioning authority within small units is being addressed, slowly and carefully.

      But it doesn’t change the fact that at one of history’s darkest hours, we had to suspend some individual liberties, and that that action forced some to make the ultimate sacrifice.

      And it also doesn’t change the fact that there are still any number of barbarians out there; the globe requires a policeman and, while a multi-national agency commands greater legitimacy, the number of tested democracies remains small in number (and limited to those with free economies, for reasons whch should be obvious).

      So once a year, in comemmoration of one particularly poignant and bitter event in the development of civilizataion, we try to remember.

      But it can’t always reflect the gap between the statesmen who formulate the rules of our democracy, and the humble men in the trenches who paid the freight.

      “If you can read this, thank a teacher; If you’re reading it in English, thank a soldier!” (Apochryphal)

    • #3312045

      Tony Blair

      by montgomery gator ·

      In reply to The First Two Minute Silence in London

      I saw Tony Blair on TV at a news conference with President Bush, and noticed he was wearing some sort of red thingy on his lapel. For those who may know more about the tradition in the UK, was that supposed to represent a poppy for Armistice Day, because of the Flanders Fields poem?

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