November 11th, 2008

camo at halloween

Armistice

Today is a day of remembrance. What we remember isn't what used to be commemorated (at least not in the states). It didn't used to be about veterans. It was about war, and the ending of one, 90 years ago today.

It was a time to ponder peace and the costs of the war which preceded it.

It was a time to contemplate, and try to forget the horrors of stalemate.

It was a time of wonder. For those in the trenches, life was handed back to them, for a time. It wasn't a peace, it was an armistice and only guaranteed for 36 days.

In the United Kingdom, and Commonwealth it is Remembrance Day, and still the world falls silent at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in a remembered presagement of the sentiment from a later war, "Never Forget".

There are few alive, who actually remember, fewer still; not more than a handful, who stood in the line. We must be their memory, we must carry the torch, keep the memory alive of just what the world hoped it had gained with this declaration:

On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918, the guns fell silent on the Western Front.
Hat

Memory

World War 1 shaped a lot of the modern world. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, used it to prove they were "real" nations. It killed "the Sick Man of Europe," put paid to the Tsars of Russia, dissolved the last ties of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and laid Germany low, as The Franco-Prussian War had raised her up.

It also set the tone for how we have seen war ever since, the books about it, All Quiet on the Western Front, Generals Die in Bed, Jonny Got His Gun, A Farewell to Arms, etc. were full of disillusion, and the arc of poetry, from the early verses, ( In Flanders' Fields) to the middle chorus (Break of Day in the Trenches) to the later attempts to apprehend it to those who could never understand (Siegfried Sassoon, and Wilfred Owen).

That sense that war is pointless, and wretched and wasteful is all true, and we expect soldiers to think this. Which is why we are shocked that some of them aren't so be-horrified by it. Some of this is because it's not always like that (not even for those who were in WW1, see Spring Offensive by Owen, which was unfinished at his death).

I hope to think those sentiments are a net good, that the awareness of our common humanity is more widespread because of it (soldiers are a funny lot, we know our job is to kill each other, and as a result we are the most convivial of professions. I've spent many a night in carousing with my fellows; and each of us aware that, should political fortune shift we could be at most serious odds).

So the most hopeful thing to come out of the war is probably this speech of Mustafa Kemal, who led the Ottoman Army at Gallipoli; later remaking Turkey and known to us as Ataturk. It's posted in bronze in New Zealand, where his erstwhile foes built him a memorial.

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours... you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well.
Pixel Stained

Just when you thought they couldn't try to kill irony any more...

John Hinderacker (whom Time, when they were discovering blogs, named as the keeper of the blog of the year), says something like this; straight-faced.

Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks. He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn't raise his standards, he will exceed Bush's total before he is inaugurated.

As he might say,

Heh.
Hat

Just some silly, but oddly appropos (or at least flattering)




Terrence Karney's Dewey Decimal Section:

502 Miscellany

Terrence Karney = 05885435118455 = 058+854+351+184+55 = 1502


Class:
500 Science


Contains:
Math, astronomy, prehistoric life, plants and animals.



What it says about you:
You are fascinated by the world around you, and see it as a puzzle worth exploring. You try to understand how things work and how you can make them better. You might be a nerd.

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Terrence Karney's Dewey Decimal Section:

047 [Unassigned]


Class:
000 Computer Science, Information & General Works


Contains:
Encyclopedias, magazines, journals and books with quotations.



What it says about you:
You are very informative and up to date. You're working on living in the here and now, not the past. You go through a lot of changes. When you make a decision you can be very sure of yourself, maybe even stubborn, but your friends appreciate your honesty and resolve.

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Terrence Karney's Dewey Decimal Section:

581 Specific topics in natural history


Class:
500 Science


Contains:
Math, astronomy, prehistoric life, plants and animals.



What it says about you:
You are fascinated by the world around you, and see it as a puzzle worth exploring. You try to understand how things work and how you can make them better. You might be a nerd.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com