Tuesday, November 11, 2014


It is Armistice Day (also known as Remembrance Day and, in the USA Veterans' Day). In England 11 November is marked by 2 minutes of silence at 11 am; sombrely dressed dignitaries lay poppy wreaths on Cenotaphs in cities throughout the land to honour the dead of two world wars, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945.

Traditionally today commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I. It took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918.

Back in England, I always wore a poppy in my lapel in early November, as did millions of others. I almost certainly owe my own life to those who died to win World War 2. What makes me sad (and lately very angry) is that the world hasn't learned the lesson those many courageous men died to teach us.

This year The Tower of London's moat has been filled with nearly 900,000 ceramic poppies, to commemorate the First World War's start one century ago, and the number of British and colonial troops who gave their lives in the course of the war, 1914-1918.

On our last visit to an antique-cum-junk store I noticed this pretty poppy display on sale for for a couple of dollars and bought it for just this occasion- instead of wearing a poppy, I can display a bunch of 'em.


Why are they selling poppies, Mummy?
Selling poppies in town today.
The poppies, child, are flowers of love.
For the men who marched away.

But why have they chosen a poppy, Mummy?
Why not a beautiful rose?
Because my child, men fought and died
In the fields where the poppies grow.

But why are the poppies so red, Mummy?
Why are the poppies so red?
Red is the colour of blood, my child.
The blood that our soldiers shed.

The heart of the poppy is black, Mummy.
Why does it have to be black?
Black, my child, is the symbol of grief.
For the men who never came back.

But why, Mummy are you crying so?
Your tears are giving you pain.
My tears are my fears for you my child.
For the world is forgetting again.


mike said...

Here in the USA it has become another bargain day at various department stores and car dealerships. It has become trendy with the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars (a new generation of dead or disabled war veterans) for restaurants to offer specials to the vets...I assume it's because the restaurants will make money off the non-vet, accompanying customers.

I grew-up with veterans selling paper poppies the week prior for lapel displays on today's date. I don't see nearly as many of those poppies now. There were more people alive at that time that had a war-loss from one or both wars. The negative treatment of soldiers from the Vietnam war seems to have taken some of the glory out of this day for the next decade or two.

I read that poppies were selected as a symbol for this day, because they were one of the first plants to re-establish on decimated soils. Sadly, the soil was made fertile from decomposed bodies...the cycle of life.

It seems that living on planet Earth as a human is all about war and suffering the consequences of religious or ideological differences and hostilities. We might be better-off simply accepting our nature and then attempting to pacify the beast within...or accept that LOVE and PEACE are concepts only. Each of us has a measure of dysfunction toward ourselves and our fellow humans. None of us is exempt from self-interest in one fashion or other.

Sonny G said...

My dad was a veteran and in those days there was acknowledgment of his service and pride in his actions.
I'm not sure when the viet nam soldier returned they were cheated of what other veterans recieved in the past.. Whether a war is popular or not the soldiers have done the job they were sent to do and they know their lives may be lost in the actions they must take- as authorized by their government.

I agree with Mike, that until war and greed get their own 12 step program,, there isnt much hope of stopping either. One just first admit there is an addiction to their actions as all 12 step programs call for.

Twilight said...

mike and sonny ~ Many thanks for your contributions of wise words.

I've just read a piece by John Grant at "This Can't Be Happening" - it's well worth taking in. In its course Grant quotes Chris Hedges, who in turn quotes Freud... The quotes reminded me of mikes last para.


Chris Hedges wrote eloquently about this at the end of his book War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. Here’s Hedges:

“Sigmund Freud divided the forces in human nature between the Eros instinct, the impulse within us that propels us to become close to others, to preserve and conserve, and the Thanatos, or death instinct, the impulse that works towards the annihilation of all living things, including ourselves. For Freud these forces were in eternal conflict. ...All human history, he argued, is a tug-of-war between these two instincts.”

Freud developed this theory late in his life at the time of World War One when he was becoming pessimistic and jaundiced about humanity’s instincts for war and killing. It’s not a stretch to see this sort of dialogue of stories at work in the current post-9/11 culture. It certainly lives in the violence that saturates our media. The federal government unfortunately sees itself as having a huge stake in bolstering militarist and creeping police state realities up and down the hierarchy.....

mike (again) said...

Terrible story about Emily Yates. It doesn't take much to find oneself in trouble now-a-day...in fact, being completely innocent isn't protection, either:

"... Mr. Connelly was talking about a practice known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows the government, without ever securing a conviction or even filing a criminal charge, to seize property suspected of having ties to crime. The practice, expanded during the war on drugs in the 1980s, has become a staple of law enforcement agencies because it helps finance their work. It is difficult to tell how much has been seized by state and local law enforcement, but under a Justice Department program, the value of assets seized has ballooned to $4.3 billion in the 2012 fiscal year from $407 million in 2001. Much of that money is shared with local police forces.

The practice of civil forfeiture has come under fire in recent months, amid a spate of negative press reports and growing outrage among civil rights advocates, libertarians and members of Congress who have raised serious questions about the fairness of the practice, which critics say runs roughshod over due process rights. In one oft-cited case, a Philadelphia couple’s home was seized after their son made $40 worth of drug sales on the porch. Despite that opposition, many cities and states are moving to expand civil seizures of cars and other assets. The seminars, some of which were captured on video, raise a curtain on how law enforcement officials view the practice."


Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Good gracious! Even more horror just beneath the surface, and it seems, officially approved too.

What has happened?

It's as though the forces of - if not exactly evil, then its close cousin injustice, are running riot.

In "Winter's Tale" Russell Crow plays a human "demon" running amok over New York with his henchmen, in thrall to his master played with a twinkle by Will Smith. It's a fairy story metaphor for what's going to happen here in the 21st century if something, or someone, doesn't put a stop to it.

Twilight said...

There's always one voice I can rely on to say what needs to be said: Dennis Kucinich:


mike (again) said...

A fine essay by Kucinich. Unfortunately, most of the residents of America have not aligned their priorities with their votes (or non-votes) and actions. Fear rules and we are a cowardly bunch prone to political herding.


Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Indeed!

mike (again) said...

Twilight, I think you will enjoy reading this (slightly long) excellent essay:


Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Thanks - will read it tomorrow when eyes fully open. :-)

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Excellent essay, very much in harmony with my own thoughts.
Thank you for drawing my attention to it.