In Remembrance of Remembrance Day.

On the 11th of November 1918 the Treaty of Versailles was signed to end the war of all wars. It may have ended hostilities but it didn’t stop the killing and warfare. Conflict has gone on since one man first picked up a rock and killed another. It is a time to remember the supreme sacrifice of those soldiers, sailors, airmen, and nurses in all conflicts since.  It is also a time to think of those who were wounded and maimed. Then there are those who show no outward signs of what war inflicted on them. Last but by no means least, the wives and children of those affected by war. The forgotten victims of conflict, those who endured a parents rages, and the brutality that would emerge. Then watch as they broke down into a torn and tortured vestige of a human being. I attended my first ‘Poppy Day’ as it was referred to in England when I was 5 years old. WW2 had ended ten years previously and the country was still on rationing. I can still see the Cenotaph where it stood against a backdrop of grey sky, and had little understanding of what it was all about.

I still have that first poppy.

poppy

Endless steps,
lead ever upwards.
Ensuring the living
feel discomfort,
as they climb towards
a wreath shrouded
Cenotaph.
Standing stark
against a slate grey sky.
~~~
Sadness,
like a shroud
descends on those who
remember and grieve.
Autumn air,
torn asunder
by the clarion call
of a bugle.
The Last Post
fades across the park.
~~~
His brother’s name.
Embossed in bronze,
will live forever
amongst hundreds.
Lest We Forget.
I’ve never seen him cry
before.
He avoids the other men.
Medals hanging from
their musty overcoats,
tokens of service
and suffering,
I’d never seen his.
I’d seen his physical
wounds.
The worst was well hidden.
~~~
Tormented.
Damaged.
Horrified.
War’s legacy?
A Soul destroyed
by violence.
One of millions
fighting for something.
Freedom?
In the end,
themselves.
Captured.
A prisoner,
isolated,
abused,
tortured.
~~~
His legacy?
Tormented,
Damaged.
Horrified
children.
Laurie Smith © 2013

220px-Cenotaph,_Barrow_Park[1]
Thanks to Wikipedia commons for
the picture. It stands on the highest point
of the park and to a small boy the steps
seemed endless.

Advertisements

30 thoughts on “In Remembrance of Remembrance Day.

  1. itsnotjustmeright

    My grandad was and Anzac, he was my hero, he died when I was 8. My Mum tells me he never ‘celebrated’ Anzac day or any other day and I have often wonder how deep his scars were. Such a burden to bear. Thank you for that beautiful peice.

    Like

    Reply
    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      The men from WW1 were told on discharge to go home and forget what happened. So they shut up and returned to civvy street. I have to wonder how they coped over time. Now we know that talking about things helps in many ways. There are always those who will never talk, some were ashamed, others I well imagine, frightened. War follows you wherever you go and lives in your mind.
      Thanks so much for dropping by.
      Cheers
      Laurie.

      Like

      Reply
    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thank you for a wonderful reply Melanie. We should never forget the sacrifice, for when we do then we are bound to repeat it. ‘old Europe’ I like that, it appears not everybody is in favour of the European Union. 😦

      Like

      Reply
      1. Mélanie

        You’re very welcome, Sir! The expression “old Europe” was used by the bush administration(cheney & rumsfeld – they don’t deserve capital letters!) to qualify France and Germany which had opposed the ILLEGAL invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003… 10 1/2 years later, where are freedom and democracy promised by the US and their shameful coalition to the Iraqi people?!… 😦
        – – –
        The European Union has been created to stand up and to resist the American hegemony, as they consider themselves “the World’s police”… I was born in Romania, I’ve been a French citizen for quite a while, I feel completely European, but I reckon myself as an earthly passenger waiting for the next connecting flight… 🙂

        Like

      2. laurie27wsmith Post author

        This is interesting, hearing a view from a European perspective. We tend to forget about the state of affairs in Iraq, obviously Afghanistan is now the place to be but not for long. I may sound cynical but it seems all the world policing is done in countries with large amounts of oil. It will be interesting to see where the European union is twenty years from now. Considering all the old disputes that have plagued the area for centuries. I imagine people are still nationalistic about where they were born or are living. Do many people consider themselves as European or do they refer to their nationality?

        Like

  2. Raani York

    Very special, this poem, Laurie. You know I love your lyrics – sometimes though it’s really “heavy stuff”. I do like it, don’t misunderstand me. The clarity, the emotion. You’re excellent in what you do!

    Like

    Reply
    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thanks Raani, as you well know I like the ‘heavy stuff.’ I know it can be a tad overwhelming at times, hmm, I may need a chicken poem. I have something a little different this week.

      Like

      Reply
  3. Owls and Orchids

    Poignant words as always Laurie, capturing the senseless loss war brings. Perhaps it is right that it is not only those who fight and die should be affected by war. Perhaps that is the hopeful deterrent which has so far failed.
    Still we are grateful for the sacrifice of all those who died and those living with the aftermath. I don’t think we will ever fully understand what people go through in dealing with this.
    Thank you for the insight.
    Susan x

    Like

    Reply
    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      You’re welcome Susan. Yes there is that senseless loss but I may have said before when it comes to something like WW2, where it was a case of roll over and let some megalomaniac control the world then I think it’s justified. A great pity that so many have to suffer. Yet if you take it that step further into the spiritual reasons for us being here, then what happens in the world is there for us all to learn and grow from.
      Laurie. xox

      Like

      Reply
      1. Owls and Orchids

        I agree Laurie, it just seems such a shame that one lunatic could cause so much devastation. I know he didn’t do it alone. Perhaps I just hate the suffering that was caused then and in later wars.
        I know the same thing can be said for all the natural disasters. Perhaps I’m taking a simplistic approach – if Hitler had been removed from the picture would it all have happened just the same?
        Then there’s Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan – should ‘we’ be there? Will there ever be an end as long as we keep engaging like this?
        Whatever the necessity I feel for the loss of life and suffering for the injured and those left behind. My great grandmother lost 3 sons on WW2 and the other lost 2. A third son committed suicide on the hospital ship on the way home because he had lost both legs… some loon said it was just as well they had large families.
        As you said, we live and learn and hopefully grow from it all. Glad you came through your war in one piece….
        Susan x

        Like

      2. laurie27wsmith Post author

        It only takes one nutter with charisma to stir things up. If Hitler had been removed I’m sure there would have been someone else to take his place. There were numerous megalomaniacs in the world at the time. All the wars after WW2, I believe, were as a consequence of that time. There probably wasn’t a family in WW1 who didn’t lose someone or have a relative wounded. Sad indeed when people make remarks like that. I’m glad I’m here too Susan. 🙂
        Laurie.

        Like

  4. Anja

    This is wonderful. I was married to a Marine for 2o years and have lost many friends as well seen others come back with wounds physical and emotional. My grandfathers both fought in WW2 on opposite sides. I grew up with one in my life and never met the other because he died on the last day of the war.
    It is a vicious cycle.

    Like

    Reply
    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thank you Anja. That is a sad story, dying on the last day of a war is a tragedy of great proportions. There seems to be an endless number of broken people out there, affected not only by war but life itself. Yet as I said to another follower, sometimes there are wars that have to be fought for the betterment of mankind.

      Like

      Reply
  5. patgarcia

    Hi,
    This is a heavy poem. The aftermath of any war is horrendous. There is no other way to explain it. War cuts in to the lives of men, women and children everywhere and destroys. Yet, I cannot help but think that if those wars, and I speak especially from WW11, had not been waged many more innocent people would have died and the world would be populated and dominated by a doctrine where even I would not be considered as a human being.

    I am not trying to excuse war, but only saying that there is more than one side to the matter. If there had not been a Civil War in the United States, I as a black person would not have had the right to stand up and be counted, to vote, to study at the university etc.

    Yes, men and women lose their lives, but again, I believe we have to have something to stand up for. No one is in this world to live eternally. The value of life lies in learning to accept and tolerate others. As long as we think that we are superiors to others, then war will exist.

    It is the heart of mankind that must change. When that happens, then we’ll see an end to war.

    I love you tribute. As an ex soldier, it made me think about why I gave a few years of my own life for serving my country.

    Shalom,
    Patti

    Like

    Reply
    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      I wholeheartedly agree with you Pat, WW2 was different in that the threat to the rest of the world was very real. WW1 I feel was a huge falling out between the royal families of England, Europe and Russia. A huge grab for land and old scores to be settled. WW2 was the war that had to be fought, otherwise the world today would be an even worse place to live.in. My reason for writing this was to highlight the fact that the effects of war are passed on, and that people far from the conflict can still suffer as a result. When on group of people stand up and declare that because someone else is different, they should be illuminated then something is wrong.
      This day is about sacrifice. When I think of the men and women who died in WW2, to stop evil from taking over the world then I’ll certainly go along and spend time in remembrance.
      It’s good to see you out and about Sis.
      Cheers
      Laurie.

      Like

      Reply
    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thank you Jim. Without doubt an horrific conflict, which took the cream of a generation totally out of the picture. Besides the loss to families world wide, it took the finest humanity had to offer.

      Like

      Reply

Tell me what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s