Sometimes when you’ve said it once you don’t need to rewrite it completely but I added some thoughts to this year’s article.
Dulce et decorum est, Pro patria mori. The stark words of Wilfred Owen’s poem as he quotes from Horace the Roman poet, echo for me each year as we look ahead to Remembrance Day November 11.
Owen was one of many renowned “war poets”, considered by most to be the greatest of the First World War. His descriptive text first brought to my attention by my English teacher, Mr. Crawshaw, causes the reader to relive the pain and struggle of the expendable soldier on the fields of war. Visit the UK war poetry site to learn more.
Technology advanced along way in the early parts of the 20th century, not least due to the two world wars. In just ten days the world remembers what men gave to allow freedom to our generations. War is never good, but with each war huge advances were made out of necessity. Without the sacrifices of those brave men and women, beyond the fact that many of us would have been living in Fascist states or without freedoms we take for granted, is the fact that many inventions and advances occurred that have changed mankind forever.
Today, many more wars are included in the Remembrance Day observations. Perhaps one day, as the writer says at Revelations 21:4, war will be no more, or perhaps war will be fought in the worlds of finance and technology alone. Perhaps not.
November 11, Remembrance Day.
IN FLANDERS FIELDS
By John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders fields 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 faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
DULCE ET DECORUM EST
By Wilfred Owen, c. Oct 1917
Bent double, like of old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind:
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime…
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in sonic smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,-
My friend, you would not talk with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
I hope you enjoyed this reminder of why we observe November 11, please visit the other sections of my site the Food Blog and Business articles are published regularly throughout the year.