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Armistice

How do you suppose Agincourt spent the day?

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month a moment of silence ought to have been observed. But, after all, I was raised by a grandparent in her mid-twenties when The Great War ended. On more than one occasion I’ve even lapsed into old-speak and called it Armistice Day.

In an earlier blog I’ve admitted having little contact with war. Few male relatives and fewer yet in military service. No Rosie the Riveter, either, though my mother would have made a good one. Crossing a busy street in Rome is the closest I’ve been to harm’s way. But as an only child, a solitary and sedentary child, I ruminated–a lot. Retro- and introspection can be therapeutic. It works for us as individuals and as a society; that’s what today is about.

Trenches

Do you suppose Maya Lin saw this image from the trenches of World War I? A gouge in the earth devoid of the living, death is also absent, though perhaps lurking around each corner. Evocative stories came from those trenches, as did poetry and art. Erich Mendelsohn produced some of his most dynamic ink drawings waiting for the Brits or the Americans to attack. He survived; millions didn’t.

Wars are fought for various reasons, but their immediate and long term effects are more or less the same. That’s what we recollect today.


2 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    My mother was conscripted into slave labor for German farmers during WW II from 1939 through the end of the war. She was gripped by the experience and relived the tales daily as if possessed by a demon who kept her imprisoned in the past. Though she was separated from the scene by an ocean and lived in the land of plenty, for 63 years she still feared famine and trusted no one.
    War might have a beginning and end on a calendar but its human toll has no bounds.

  2. R.H.L.M. Ramsay says:

    Stories like your mother’s remind me that my writing comes more often from ignorance, rather than experience. I would like to have known and learned from hers. Could sharing her story have eased the pain? I wonder.

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