Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembrance Day: Lest we forget one man's dream

Poppies by the roadside, on the way into the village of Thiepval, France.
The Great War of 1914-1918 was to have been the war which ended all wars, but of course it did not have that result. It was a war thought so savage and so cruel as to never be repeated. In one of the last letters he wrote home from the Somme, Thomas Michael Kettle put it best when he described Europe at war saying,

"We have lived to see Europe degraded to a foul something which no image can so much as shadow forth...Every landmark has been submerged in an Atlantic of blood...We are gripped in the ancient bloodiness of that paradox which bids us kill life in order to save life."

Men such as Thomas Kettle were horrified by what they saw and endured in trench warfare, but despite that they allowed themselves to believe in the best of humanity, and the possibility of a world without war. In another of his final letters he wrote,

"I want to live, too, to use all my powers of thinking, writing and working, to drive out of civilisation this foul thing called War, and to put in its place understanding and comradeship."

On this Remembrance day, let us not forget this one man's dream.
The altar at Thiepval, The Somme, France

One of nine stone tablets, Island of Ireland Peace Park, Messines, Belgium. This one bears the words of Terence Poulter, 7th Royal Dublin Fusiliers, and reads:

Hostilities will cease at 11.00am on the 11th day of the 11th month. After that time all firing will cease. 

This was joyous news. Approaching eleven o'clock in our sector you could have heard a pin drop. When eleven o'clock came there were loud cheers. The war was over as far as we were concerned.



Copyright©irisheyesjg2013.
Click on images to view larger versions.
Click on the names of those memorialized to link to posts about them.

12 comments:

  1. The war to end all wars is what was said but man never learns and it still goes on.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments Bill. So true, as you say, 'man never learns', and yet I keep hoping at some point people will realize the futility of war and there will be an end of it.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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  2. I just started following your blog. This is beautiful. More people remember the second world war more than the first, and newer wars too. Important to remember both I think.

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    1. Hello Pat, and Welcome. Thank you for your comments. I agree it is so important to remember both of the world wars. If only we might learn from the past.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Jackie! Your comment is much appreciated.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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  4. Please God, that we do learn the lessons of the past... and yet, here we are, with conflicts still happening in too many places. Maybe our children and grandchildren will do better...

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    1. Thanks for your comments Crissouli! From your mouth to God's ear, as they say, and perhaps the future will be more peaceful.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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  5. Thank you for sharing the photos. I have a gg-uncle who is commemorated on the Theipval Memorial - one day I shall see it for myself.

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    1. Hello Caroline, Thanks for your comments. I hope you do take the opportunity to visit Thiepval; it is an extraordinary and, in many ways, overwhelming place, particularly when you see all of those names upon the memorial.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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  6. Touching words & photos; brings war to a very personal level.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Colleen! Perhaps personal connections to such events as these may one day bring the world to a place of peace, as Tom Kettle hoped so very long ago.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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