Posts tagged ‘war’
Tower of London Poppies
Scarlet corn poppies (popaver rhoeas) grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers.
In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as World War One raged through Europe’s heart. Once the conflict was over the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields.http://www.bbc.co.uk/remembrance/how/poppy.shtml
For the past months a huge army of volunteers planted ceramic poppies around the Tower of London. Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively fill the Tower’s famous moat.
You may read more about the installation here
Every evening the “Last Post” was played. Americans have not embraced the poppy here in the USA. The poppy may not have been recognized with its significance but the “Last Post” has certainly made an impact and is played reverently throughout the nations. Armistice Day 11-11-11 was the thought of King George the V. Exactly a year after the guns of World War 1 fell silent 1919 he prounounced:
‘I believe,’ he had announced, ‘that my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of the Great Deliverance, and those who laid down their lives to achieve it.’
He suggested that ‘at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, there may be, for the brief space of two minutes, a complete suspension of all our normal activities’.
The parade ended with a bagpipe lament and the playing of the Last Post on a solo bugle. The use of the humble, functional bugle — rather than a cavalry call proclaimed with ceremonial splendour by state trumpeters — was a poignant, heartrending lament for the hundreds of thousands of ordinary husbands, sons and fathers for whom the nation grieved.
During World War I the Last Post took on a new significance, with a bugler standing over every grave and playing the haunting melody at the start and end of each day
Although the origins of its haunting melody are unknown, the Last Post had been used since the beginning of the 18th century in Army camps to mark the ending of the day and the sealing of perimeter fences. In hostelries and brothels, it was sounded to alert Army personnel that they should return to their headquarters.
During the previous 50 years or so, however — and particularly during World War I — the tune had taken on a new significance. No longer just a military signal, it had become a powerful symbol for the ending of a life, rather than the literal close of a day.
During the Battle of the Somme, a tradition arose that the dead were buried at the beginning and end of each day. Morning and evening, a bugler would stand over every grave, playing the Last Post……….
………..That first Armistice Day commemoration in 1919 would complete the melody’s transformation from practical signal into the unique, almost sacred, symbol it has become for both army personnel and civilians today.
On November the 11th here in the USA Veterans Posts and organizations will be honouring the fallen for all the wars, the Last Post will be played , eyes will fill with tears and honor will be given to those who have died and given young lives for us, including the young unknown soldier from World War One who wrote the poem before he went over the top ( of the trenches)into ” no mans land “.
and whose words now touch millions 100 years later:
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red
By Anon – Unknown Soldier
The blood swept lands and seas of red,
Where angels dare to tread.
As I put my hand to reach,
As God cried a tear of pain as the angels fell,
Again and again.
As the tears of mine fell to the ground,
To sleep with the flowers of red,
As any be dead.
My children see and work through fields
of my own with corn and wheat,
Blessed by love so far from pain of my resting
Fields so far from my love.
It be time to put my hand up and end this pain
Of living hell, to see the people around me
Fall someone angel as the mist falls around,
And the rain so thick with black
thunder I hear
Over the clouds, to sleep forever and kiss
The flower of my people gone before time
To sleep and cry no more.
I put my hand up and see the land of red,
This is my time to go over,
I may not come back So sleep, kiss the boys for me.
I use this video in most of my November 11th posts it tugs at my heart and my conscience. The Great War – 1914-1918 – my grandmothers and elderly aunts called it. When they spoke of the Great War it was not with the same camaraderie my mother and younger aunts and uncles who had fought and been “blitzed”. They, the aged, didn’t seem to have the same national fulfillment of achievement in their voices the attitude shown by those of the next generation.
“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be” Winston Chruchill
The pride of watching the skies above as the Battle of Britain Pilots as they defended their “sceptered isle.” seemed missing as they talked of bombs and carnage, although on the side of victory , there was somehow something hollow in their remembrance of those years of World War 1.
This was a war that was so horrible, unthinkable with so many men lost, a generation lost , never had there been such human destruction on such a scale before or since. It was supposed to be the war to end all wars The Great War in Europe started in 1914- the 100 year anniversary will be noted in Europe next year.
The number of men mobilised by both sides: the central powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey), and the allied powers (Britain and Empire, France, Belgium, Russia, Italy, USA), totalled over 65 million.
When the fighting was finally over, no-one could tell exactly how many had been killed but historians estimate that up to 10 million men lost their lives on the battlefield – and another 20 million were wounded…..it is perhaps best remembered for the staggering loss of human life. In the decade following the Great War many had the firm conviction that it should be “the war to end all wars”. …
I wasn’t born during either of the “World Wars” but I do remember my grand dad who lived to a ripe old age . I remember his whiskers, the smell of beer ( which wasn’t that unpleasant) and of sweet-smelling tobacco, although I can’t remember him with a pipe or a cigarette. The roughness of his jacket on my cheek as he held me on his lap toasting bread by the fire .
He was an old reprobate (I later learned) but to me he was the one who would come home from the pub and always had a present in his pocket for me , sometimes sweets, sometimes a few pennies and on one brilliant occasion a kitten named Jimmy!
I was the youngest girl grandchild and he would tease me unmercifully ( or so it seemed) but I knew he loved me even if his nickname for me was “maggot”.
We received a call he was in hospital and asking to see me . I went. I remember his little old face as white as the hospital pillow case upon which his head rested . He smiled , the twinkle had gone out of his blue eyes- he told my husband you take care of my little maggot in those United States of yours, squeezed my hand and said
come back tomorrow
As we drove down the country lanes in Suffolk to get to my other aunt’s, I could not shake the feel of his hand squeezing mine, it stayed with me the whole journey home. When we arrived my aunt told me he died not 5 minutes after I had left the room. He had made my grandmother’s life miserable, had given her 6 children , three sons and three daughters, and many, many hardships.
But as I read articles and history such as the Diary of Harry Drinkwater:
After five days in the trenches, we’re thankful we can still walk. I’ve had approximately an hour’s sleep a day – always standing up.
Often, when from sheer exhaustion I doze off, I’m awakened by a fat squeaking rat on my shoulder or feel it running over my head.
Most of the rations fail to arrive – because the communication trenches are water-logged and being continually shelled. We eat with hands caked in mud, which has caused many cases of acute dysentery.
Deluged: Three members of Harry’s company can be seen here posing in a trench flooded with mud almost to waist height
In common with others, I’ve done regular turns at the firing line. It’s a very creepy business looking over the top, imagining every noise is a German. A rat skirmishing among empty tins in no-man’s land is sufficient to attract all our attention.
Each morning, one hour before daybreak, every man stands in the trench until daylight. This is in case the Germans follow the old custom of attacking just before dawn. The same happens an hour before sunset.
Last night, I had a narrow squeak. I was wedged in the mud when I heard a shell coming. Unable to move quickly, I crouched when it burst on the parapet and got covered in dirt.
Later, we marched to our billets [for rest days]. This morning, Christmas Day, I took my shirt off – thick with dried mud – and had a wash. We had one tub and no soap between about 50 fellows.
Friday, December 31
Back on the firing line, and nearly up to our waists in mud. We’ve found a new diversion — at dusk, we put a small piece of cheese on the end of a bayonet, wait for a rat to have a nibble, and then pull the trigger.
I think of my grand dad as a young man , a career soldier, who fought in those trenches, slithered in muck, covered with lice and blood , fodder for cannon and rats alike , living the horror of trench warfare, and ultimately being “gassed ” and shot. I am sure this had to change a man. He sent three of his sons to war 20 years later, and according to my mum they too came home different men, as did my father
and millions of young men from around the world through the wars to follow .
Lyrics to I was only 19 at the end of the post
Today, more young men are returning home battle weary and scarred both physically and emotionally. And yet we count them among the lucky ones for many will never see the shores of home and we should never forget …………..
and grand dad this one is for you – Maggot
Lyrics to I was Only 19
Mum and Dad and Denny saw the passing-out parade at Puckapunyal
It was a long march from cadets.
The sixth battalion was the next to tour, and it was me who drew the card.
We did Canungra, Shoalwater before we left.
And Townsville lined the footpaths as we marched down to the quay
This clipping from the paper shows us young and strong and clean.
And there’s me in my slouch hat with my SLR and greens.
God help me, I was only nineteen.
From Vung Tau, riding Chinooks, to the dust at Nui Dat
I’d been in and out of choppers now for months.
But we made our tents a home, VB and pinups on the lockers
And an Agent Orange sunset through the scrub.
And can you tell me, doctor, why I stil can’t get to sleep?
And night-time’s just a jungle dark and a barking M16?
And what’s this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only ninteen.
A four week operation when each step could mean your last one on two legs
It was a war within yourself.
But you wouldn’t let your mates down til they had you dusted off
So you closed your eyes and thought about something else.
Then someone yelled out “Contact!” and the bloke behind me swore
We hooked in there for hours, then a Godalmighty roar
Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon,
God help me, he was going home in June.
I can still see Frankie, drinking tinnies in the Grand Hotel
On a thirty-six hour rec leave in Vung Tau
And I can still hear Frankie, lying screaming in the jungle
Til the morphine came and killed the bloody row.
And the Anzac legends didn’t mention mud and blood and tears
And the stories that my father told me never seemed quite real.
I caught some pieces in my back that I didn’t even feel
God help me, I was only nineteen.
And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can’t get to sleep?
And why the Channel Seven chopper chills me to my feet?
And what’s this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only nineteen.
It was a beautiful cool and sunny morning today as we walked our neighborhood placing flags and ribbons to honor those who have given so much in so many conflicts. We placed the “RED WHITE and BLUE ribbons and I thought not only of the history of the colors but of those that have walked these streets in the decades before in this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood . I thought of those that had given all they could give in the name of freedom.
The history of the red white and blue:
The Continental Congress left no record to show why it chose the colors. However, in 1782, the Congress of the Confederation chose these same colors for the Great Seal of the United States and listed their meaning as follows: white to mean purity and innocence, red for valor and hardiness, and blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice. According to legend, George Washington interpreted the elements of the flag this way: the stars were taken from the sky, the red from the British colors, and the white stripes signified the secession from the home country. However, there is no official designation or meaning for the colors of the flag.
The official meaning of those chosen colors may have been lost in time but they are the colors of freedom and many lives have been cut short so the colors of freedom can fly proudly in our neighborhoods.
Marine Lance Corporal Joseph “Ryan” Giese
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep…….,
Thanks to Joe Bock from Lorain City Schools Channel 20 who uploaded to You tube
UPDATE: further coverage on the LCS Channel 20 and from their face book page http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.405441606191922.93572.147298438672908&type=1
The sun warmed the earth and air the young people of Lorain High School Marching Band and the Lorain High JROTC, the representatives from the United States Marine Corps, The United States Army, Unites States Air force, the United States Navy warmed hearts. It was a morning of tribute to the young by the young as they stood proudly honoring the young men who gave their lives- the ultimate sacrifice.
The coverage for the dedication can be found in the following links . The area media also has to have our heart-felt thanks, their coverage of the project as it progressed reached out and their readers sent in donations. Without such generosity the project would have been “less”.
This is phase one of the walkway more to come.
In the meantime please view the videos of the morning taken by Mark Teleha of Lorain County Photographers Blog
Photos by Lisa Miller on the Lorain 365 Blog ( one of the Morning Journal Media Bloggers)also on her blog Busters House
The thoughts and photos of Dan Brady- who designed the Commemorative Booklet – of Brady’s Bunch of Lorain County Nostalgia
Heroes Walk memorial trail dedicated on Veterans Day filed by Evan Goodenow –
“They share pain from a loss that will never go away and belong to a club that no one wants to be part of.”
Morning Journal Photo Jason Henery
Heroes Walk: Pathway dedicated to fallen soldiers by Jason Henery
I’m going to donate my time to make it nice,” Torres said of the park. “I’m glad for my city to appreciate the sacrifice my son made.”
As always click on photos to enlarge and thank you everyone who made this dedication memorable –
Click on jpg to enlarge
Charleston Village Society along with their project partners, Black River Historical Society and Lorain Growth Corporation, wish to invite you to the dedication of the Eric Barnes’ Heroes Walk. The walk way connects the Settlers’ Watch green space to the Admiral King Tribute Site. Along the walkway, named after Airman 1st Class Eric Barnes who gave his life in service to his country in Iraq 2007, are tribute spaces to Marine Lance Corporal David Hall- Afghanistan -2009, Marine Lance Corporal Joseph “Ryan” Giese- Afghanistan-2011, Army SSgt Lois Torres- Afghanistan 2012 and Army1st Sgt. Bruce Horner- Iraq- 2007.
The dedication will take place Sunday, November 11th at 10:50 am. , the time has been chosen so that we may have a minute of silence at 11:00 am. The event is planned at the north entranceway of the walkway – Settlers’ Watch, 2nd and Oberlin, there is also parking at 1st and Oberlin Ave.
Please join us in honoring these young men, born in Lorain who have given their lives in the service of their county
NOTE: Many thanks to Dan Brady of http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/ for the design of the commemorative booklet
Eric Barnes’ – Heroes Walk
A lot of dirt has been moved, beds have been prepared, tons of recycled crushed concrete placed and rolled and placed again and concrete pads laid in the past few weeks. Please bear in mind this is a donation and volunteer driven project.
We are very lucky our project coincided with the fact the City of Lorain and Lorain Utilities Dept. had to take the area where the “sludge bags had been stored ” and re-do the parking area and grassy area.
Charleston Village Society, along with our sister organizations Black River Historical Society and Lorain Growth Corporation were able to piggy back onto their project and as they designed and re graded the property to cut a path way through the trees joining Settlers’ Watch and the Admiral King Tribute space.
Please see video and article in the Morning Journal by Jessica James
So. where are we now?
Thanks to the generosity of Lorain City Schools donating the two granite benches , from the soon to be torn down Admiral King High School, we are able to honor the two graduates of Lorain City Schools with a bench each –
Army 1st Sgt Bruce Horner ( Admiral King High School)
and Marine Lance Corporal David Hall ( Southview High School).
Each Tribute garden space will include a piece of hardscape art work- loosley based on a maritime theme
The hardscape pieces will be set in blue glass mulch and white limestone to tie in with the anchor center piece at Admiral King Tribute Space
At each entrance way ( Settlers Watch and Admiral King Tribute Space will be a sign – Eric Barnes’- Heroes Walk – the sign will be cutwork and have a 3 dimensional look- the colours are navy blue, silver and white incorporating the anchor from the Admiral King Tribute Site and the Eric Barnes Eagle from Settlers’ Watch. – smaller versions of the signs will be placed at each tribute garden with the name of the fallen hero and information pertaining to each son of Lorain
There are a great many other aspects to the walk- it will still be a work in progress until next summer. However we would like to invite everyone to the dedication of the walk way on Sunday November 11th and 11 am. 2012. 1st and Oberlin- Lorain Ohio
As always any donations goes 100 percent to the project – Should you wish to donate or help out in any way you can send your check to
Charleston Village Society Inc- 1127 W 4th Street, Lorain Ohio 44052 ( mark Heroes Walk on the memo portion) – should you wish to volunteer time , plants, ideas please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 440-246-6046
Many cities in the North and the South claim to be the first to celebrate Memorial Day in 1866 but Congress and President Lyndon Johnson officially declared Waterloo in New York as the ‘birthplace’ of Memorial Day in 1966. It was said that on May 5, 1866, a ceremony was held here to honor local soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War, businesses were closed for the day and residents furled flags at half-mast. It was said to be the first formal, community-wide and regular event.
How do you memorialize the American dead in her 237 year old history?
Wikipediia does it by listing all the wars since 1775 to the present day
Grand Total 2,489,335 dead or wounded ……. so for every year of the United States existence approximately 10, 504 young people died or were wounded in her name .
The community of the United States of America honors and memorialized those who have died, lost limbs and continue to serve .
ARLINGTON, Va., May 25, 2012 – More than 1,200 soldiers with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, gathered at Arlington National Cemetery here yesterday to place miniature American flags on each of its gravesites and niches for the annual “Flags In” ritual that’s been performed just before each Memorial Day for 64 years.
Army Pvt. Aaron Johnson places a small American flag in front of a gravesite headstone during the annual “Flags In” event at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 24, 2012. Johnson, assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, the Army’s “Old Guard,” and his comrades placed flags in front of more than 260,000 gravesite headstones and about 7,300 niches at the cemetery’s columbarium.
The Old Guard, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, is the Army’s ceremonial unit and has honored Americans buried at the cemetery with the Flags In commemoration every year since 1948.
The regiment’s troops placed the flags on nearly 260,000 gravesites and 22,000 niches, in addition to more than 14,000 graves at the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., an Army cemetery for residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington
Freedom Is Not Free– Kelly Strong
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
He’d stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?
How many pilots’ planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
No, freedom isn’t free.
I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant “Amen,”
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn’t free.
So as we enjoy the day of freedom on this Memorial Day think of young smiling faces whose hearts were afire with patriotism as they gave all they could give!