Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day

Christine has some very nice posts in remembrance, particularly this one on Joyce Kilmer

World War I, the inspiration for this day of remembrance, was a horrific event in world history; but it seems as though it is quickly slipping out of our thoughts.

There, at start of the twentieth century, modern technology collided with traditional notions of martial conduct. It now seems overshadowed by the more recent memories of World War II, Vietnam, and the present war (all other conflicts and wars seem to be relegated to the attic of our memory as well - though I would be amenable to the argument that the reality of war is for the most part dismissed by the general populace). Despite this lack of attention, World War I shook the human race in ways we still seem unable to grasp. Though I am but a little baby historian, it seems that the "great war," "the war to end all wars" will come to be understood in a much deeper way by future times as the catalyst of so much that has happened to our culture.

My shoulders ache beneath my pack
(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).

I march with feet that burn and smart
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).

Men shout at me who may not speak
(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).

I may not lift a hand to clear
My eyes of salty drops that sear.

(Then shall my fickle soul forget
Thy Agony of Bloody Sweat?)

My rifle hand is stiff and numb
(From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).

Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
Than all the hosts of land and sea.

So let me render back again
This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.

Joyce Kilmer, 1918

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