Hello!

Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Armistice

Fifty years later, they still came back. Old men now. To look at the places they could not have imagined in their worst nightmares. To think of friends. To remember. If you find a copy of Gene Smith's wonderful book, you should buy it. Look at the photos of the battlefields of the "Great War" and the photos of what half a century had done to repair them. Take the Loos Ridge, for example, in 1915 and 1965 (a British war memorial in the new foreground)...

Or the Menin Road in Belgium. Hell Fire Corner. Where the opposing gunners knew the range to a yard. Walking across this intersection was the equivalent of suicide. Smith posits whether the auto drivers in 1965 have any concept that they are driving serenely over a spot where hundreds of thousands of men went to their deaths...Probably not. Fifty years is, after all, a long time. Especially in war years.
Or consider Belleau Wood, where an outfit called the United States Marines first fought for the rest of the world on European soil. They fought so well that France gave the land to us and it is now United States soil, paid for in blood from Wisconsin, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, everywhere...

This map tells it all. The entire Western Front. Each dot signifies a British burial ground...

After, the mothers and widows came. Not so old. But aged. They wanted to see the spot where it happened. Where one particular light was extinguished. They saw, and like the old men, they were never the same...

Once upon a time, they thought there could only be one war like this. A global cataclysm. One horrid set of years and everyone would learn. And not repeat the lesson. Once upon a time, a king would say that America "could never be of significance" in war. A top British general would say that the machine gun was a "greatly overrated" weapon. And a generation would simply vanish into the mud and the mist.

But we cannot let them vanish. Today is Veteran's Day in the U.S.A. When we stop to consider the incredible sacrifices that were made for us. Some still wear the red poppy as an emblem of this consideration. And we go about our daily tasks. And we look at the sky. And we say a quiet thank-you. The people that served for us, and died for us, can never be forgotten. Whether the service was ninety two years ago. Or yesterday. You see, once upon a time, they called it Armistice Day. Signifying "the" armistice, the singular and final end of hostility. Perhaps, one day, it really will be.

3 comments:

Barbara said...

Great tribute, beautifully written.
Thank you to those who fought for us then and protect us now.
BarbaraG

James said...

Outstanding piece, thank you.

Preppy 101 said...

Beautiful, poignant post. Thank you for the time you put into this. xoxo