Friday, November 11, 2005

Armistice Day

I thought I would repost last year's entry by our resident jarhead Infogeek:

Today we take the time remember the end of World War One, which symbolically ended on the 11th hour of the 11 day of the 11th month in 1918. We don't call today Armistice Day in the US anymore, we call it Veterans Day. If you are in Canada, Western Europe, Australia or New Zealand, you probably call today Remembrance Day. In fact, we don’t just remember the people who served during World War One anymore, we hopefully remember all the people who served in all the wars, fought all over the world.

Most people do this by wearing a Poppy on the 11th of November. If you are unaware of this tradition, please follow the link for a far better explanation than I could ever produce. Significance of the Poppy .

I think if we can honor the wish of Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, and ‘never break faith with those who have died’, we would not only honor the dead, but the living as well. We shall always have wars, but if we make every effort to remember those who have died in past struggles, maybe, just maybe it might help us to work toward reducing the number of wars we fight in the future. I can only hope so.

May we never break faith…


Seymour said...

The true significance of the Poppy is that it clouds the mind and brings on blissfull forgetfullness.

What a perfect symbol for mankind's continued addiction to conflict.

War is terrible.... let's attack someone else. It'll be different this time. Just one more fix.

I once had an International Psychology class (yeah, really) where we were divided into 10 countries with economies and border disputes etc..

It was great. Each country had to address its internal problems as well as trade and military obligations. We each had a budget and local resources to use. And we all sent diplomats to a weekly meeting.

Being a crazed gamer, I figured out the system right off, and laid out basic plans for each nation to meet its economic goals and retain peace. It wasn't hard, just took alittle number crunching as well as diplomacy to get everyone to agree with each other. The weak point was that no single nation would ever be dominant. That's the surest way for conflict. So what happens in the last week of the class? A couple of the Frat nations were bored and wanted to see what War looked like. So they started attacking people, and the whole thing collapsed like a badly made Yugo.

I can still see the look on my Professor's face when the 'dudes' decided to attack. He was a Dutch immigrant from WWII. It was a mix of sadness and disgust.

I learned an important lesson from that class. War isn't always about right or wrong its about a bunch of bored yahoos who want to prove something. Until we conquer that urge to "knock over the blocks" we're a cursed species.

Maybe that was the whole point of the class, I was never brave enough to ask if this always happened. I mean, do humans seek excitement in leiu of safety? Is there some genetic desire to wreak havoc when faced with plenty?

As a Race, Humans have so much going for them. The opposable thumb thing is just brilliant. But what makes Us want to kill each other? In such mass quantities?

I mean, really. We could turn this whole planet into such a Garden (as if it wasn't a Garden before). We could live in Peace with each other and spend our energies outwards and explore the Solar System and then the Galaxy. What is our problem? That's what Armistice Day means for me. Wasted energy. Wasted Lives.

Laewkahf-Finnish Snowshoe National Holiday. Dec 12th.

Roger Waters said...

southampton dock

They disembarked in 45
And no one spoke and no one smiled
There were too many spaces in the line
Gathered at the cenotaph
All agreed with hand on heart
To sheath the sacrificial knifes
But now

She stands upon southampton dock
With her handkerchief
And her summer frock clings
To her wet body in the rain
In quiet desperation knuckles
White upon the slippery reins
She bravely waves the boys goodbye again

And still the dark stain spreads between
Their shoulder blades
A mute reminder of the poppy fields and graves
And when the fight was over
We spent what they had made
But in the bottom of our hearts
We felt the final cut

Jarrell said...

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life.
I woke to black flak and nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

Randall Jarrell (1914-1965)

Seymour said...

I just listened to a Veteran's Day Radio Special on KBOO today. It was a low level broadcast from California. Basically they interviewed guys just back from Iraq interspersed with music from Roger Waters.

It was extremely effective. Listening to these 20 year old guys tell how they targeted children in Fallujah was really disturbing. Then they'd play a Water's track from his Floyd days or from his Solo tracks. When they played the last song from "Radio Chaos" I just about lost it.

That was back in my druggy days when there was no more Floyd. My friend brought in "Radio Chaos" and we listened to it for days. That was right before the Iran-Contra scandal hit and everything was undone. I still think Roger Waters saved the Universe. But that's just me...

pwlxphik-the serious hope that vowels exist to serve mankind.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Just some things that crossed my mind (and dotted my eyes):

- I see you still haven't gotten around to replacing the missing "to" in the first line of InfoGeek's post (even if you're not!).

- Everytime Japan's prime minister tries to pay his respects to his country's war dead and pray for peace China and Korea start screaming bloody murder.

- What does it tell you when a crazed gamer (i.e. a "geek") can figure out the formula for peace and prosperity, and a couple of bored frat guys (i.e. "cool and promising members of society") completely screw it all up?

- Wait a minute...doesn't our current administration consist of bored (old) frat guys? That could explain a few things...