Memorial Day

Some mildly profane words; borrowed from those who were ‘there’.

They may have volunteered out of patriotism, or for the ‘adventure’. They may have been told by the Government they were ‘required’. They may started out as ‘ordinary’ folk; they may have been ‘screw-ups’; they may have been downright annoying; they may have been ‘nasty pieces of work’; they may have been tough; they may have spent their time being scared or ‘bitching’.

They may have been killed, died of injuries, disease, accident or ‘dumb luck’. They may have survived and lived or are living out the war in a loop.

 

Malmedy MassacreMalmedy December 1944

EyewitnessWWII-03._V389839563_Normandy 1944

‘Somewhere and Somewhen in Korea’Korean War 2

In Vietnam

C rations

 ‘Boy, you sure get offered some shitty choices,’ a Marine once said to me, and I couldn’t help but feel that what he really meant was that you didn’t get offered any at all. Specifically, he was just talking about a couple of C-ration cans, ‘dinner,’ but considering his young life……..Vietnam 1 …….you couldn’t blame him for thinking that if he knew one thing for sure, it was that there was no one anywhere who cared less about what he wanted.…Extract from Michael Herr’s ‘Dispatches’ 

And still it goes on 

21st US Amry 4 21st US Army 721st USA Army 221st USA Army

And for some it never stops

21st US Army 5

No one composes laments quite like the Scots; this songs was written for the 51st (Highland Division) as they left Sicily in 1943- there are several versions song in broad dialects and are difficult to follow without study- this version by the Clancy Brothers was angelized for general consumption. The message is universal for all soldiers leaving a warzone. One mild profanity from the original song and not here here but worth a mention:

‘Poor biddy (bloody) bastards are weary’

Some might feel uncomfortable about what may be seen as a celebration of war. This is no celebration; this is a remembrance for those who witnessed, heard, smelt and felt the weakness of flesh when fed on by metal, flame and explosion.

Normandy (2)

Maybe if all the national cemeteries were like this, there might be less …’next wars’ 

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2 thoughts on “Memorial Day

  1. Roger, thanks for sharing this. The line from the movie “Troy” strikes home. War is old men talking and young men (now women) dying. A similar quote from Ken Burns’ documentary on “Vietnam” comes from a North Vietnamese veteran who said those leaders who think they can win a war have never fought in one. We owe it to our military to do our best not to fight wars. And, once they decide to do so, to have a plan as to what success looks like. This latter point is not as well thought out as we would like. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is an old adage Keith that no military plan survives first contact with the enemy which means flexibility is essential.
      The principal folly is to assume that the foe will be a push-over. There is much written about the ease in which the Germans over ran Poland in 1939 and France in 1940.
      The former cost Germany 50,000 casualties and the latter 157,000.
      There are no easy wars.
      And indeed we owe it to our military to do our best to avoid wars, for they involve far too much vanity and folly in their components.

      Like

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