Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day (Observed) 2007

The armistice of World War One was concluded on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918. That date was the inspiration for Veterans Day, but as the importance of those sacrifices fades into the past, most people look forward to yet another holiday, not too concerned with how it came about.

That's one part of why wars continue. Every generation tends to forget what war did to its grandparents or great-grandparents. Another part is that tyrants do not forget. They remember and exercise the principles of war (fear, pain, anxiety, blackmail, and the latest instruments of destruction) to control populations -- balancing ignorance, fear, prejudice and political influence in a delicate but effective tension aimed at maintaining power.

And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

...a song, written by Eric Bogle in 1972, describing the futility, gruesome reality and the destruction of war, while criticising those who seek to glorify it. This is exemplified in the song by the account of a young Australian soldier on his maiming during the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War. The song is a vivid account of the memories of a young Australian man who, in 1915, had been sent to Gallipoli -- who "for seven long weeks" kept himself alive as "around me the corpses piled higher". He recalls "that terrible day" ... "in the hell that they called Suvla Bay we were butchered like lambs at the slaughter" ... "in that mad world of blood, death and fire". In its clear and stark retelling of the events of the battle and its aftermath, it is a passionate indictment of war in general.

Link to the lyrics (PDF)

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