Time to Remember

fountainhall
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#1 Time to Remember

Postby fountainhall » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:24 am

Today is the 11th day of the 11th month. A day to commemorate the end of World War 1 at 11:00 am exactly one hundred years ago.

This was a war started virtually by mistake, a war that no-one really wanted. There followed four years and three months of slaughter on an unimaginable scale. A rough estimate of 8 million civilians and 10 million soldiers killed, many in the ghastly trench warfare that even the generals admitted was achieving virtually nothing. As Winston Churchill noted, "The war will be ended by the exhaustion of nations rather than the victories of armies." Up to 23 million retired from the front lines wounded, many gassed with chemical weapons and whose lives thereafter were indelibly altered.

I expect forefathers of some readers took part in that war, some paying the ultimate price. An accident of the times of their births and their professions meant that none of my family were involved. In the Second War that followed, though, my father and my mother’s brother were captured in the surrender to General Rommel at St. Valery. Had their unit been based a little further east at Dunkirk, perhaps they would instead have been part of that great escape. But they then spent five years in prisoner of war camps before being repatriated by Soviet troops.

It often seems that the world has learned little of the lessons of those two wars despite their appalling carnage and the collapse of empires. At least we can remember. At least we can consider what our lives might have been like without the sacrifice of so many.

Many poems were written about World War 1. A. E Houseman’s is one of the least known, the simplest and I think one of the most poignant.

Here dead we lie
Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land
From which we sprung.

Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.

As the world thinks back, one country has seen fit to offer an unqualified apology to those whom, through its non-action, it condemned to death in May 1939. Justin Trudeau’s words to the Canadian parliament a few days ago are an utterly moving and heartfelt long apology to the worldwide Jewish community for the turning back of the MS St. Louis which had left and ultimately had to return to Germany with 907 German Jews.



On this day, it would be wrong to use these sentiments to describe present events as they are re-developing in too many countries. I hope the world’s power brokers reflect on them as time goes on.

Captain Swing
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#2 Re: Time to Remember

Postby Captain Swing » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:16 pm

Almost inevitably, Trump made a number of missteps on his trip to France to commemorate the anniversary. of the war's end, (or as he said "celebrate" it). Foremost was his skipping one ceremony because it was raining. But leaving that aside--what else did anyone expect?--was it just me who thought it was a little strange for Angela Merkel to be there. Would she show up for a ceremony commemorating D-Day?

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Undaunted
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#3 Re: Time to Remember

Postby Undaunted » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:17 pm

Captain Swing wrote: But leaving that aside--what else did anyone expect?--was it just me who thought it was a little strange for Angela Merkel to be there. Would she show up for a ceremony commemorating D-Day?


Nothing strange as it was an anniversary of the end of WW1 and I do believe Gemany was one of the players!
"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

fountainhall
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#4 Re: Time to Remember

Postby fountainhall » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:18 pm

Merkel's presence did not surprise me - and I am glad she was there. Successive German Chancellors and in particular Merkel have taken every opportunity to denounce their nation's actions during both World Wars. For the re-enactment of the surrender it was vital she be there. That action also helped rebalance history for the last German Chancellor to visit that railway carriage was Hitler.

Also the ceremonies in France were to commemorate all who died in the First World War. The Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires were allied with the Germans and Erdogan was there. I assume the Presidents of Austria and Hungary were probably also present.

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#5 Re: Time to Remember

Postby fountainhall » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:31 pm

Don't ya just love this photo which has been doing the rounds on twitter? As Vladimir Putin arrives for yesterday's ceremony, Macron and Merkel - even Melania Trump - are stony faced. And Trump? His happiness at seeing his old pal shines through. Who said photos speak less than words?

Image

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windwalker
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#6 Re: Time to Remember

Postby windwalker » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:10 pm

fountainhall wrote:Today is the 11th day of the 11th month. A day to commemorate the end of World War 1 at 11:00 am exactly one hundred years ago.

I expect forefathers of some readers took part in that war, some paying the ultimate price. An accident of the times of their births and their professions meant that none of my family were involved.

Thank you for your post, fountainhall.

Last night we all joined in as a friend lead a toast to his deceased relative who died on the battlefield in France during WWI.

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#7 Re: Time to Remember

Postby firecat69 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:30 pm

fountainhall wrote:Merkel's presence did not surprise me - and I am glad she was there. Successive German Chancellors and in particular Merkel have taken every opportunity to denounce their nation's actions during both World Wars. For the re-enactment of the surrender it was vital she be there. That action also helped rebalance history for the last German Chancellor to visit that railway carriage was Hitler.

Also the ceremonies in France were to commemorate all who died in the First World War. The Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires were allied with the Germans and Erdogan was there. I assume the Presidents of Austria and Hungary were probably also present.

Totally agree and cannot understand how any educated person could not understand the importance of Merkel being there!

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#8 Re: Time to Remember

Postby Undaunted » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:37 pm

"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

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#9 Re: Time to Remember

Postby firecat69 » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:45 am

Surprised Fox would report the disgrace of Trump!!!


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