Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the guns on the western front fell silent after the 4 years of blood letting that was the first World War. There are estimates that there were as many as 40 million casualties military and civilian worldwide as the result of this war. The horror and unprecedented destruction that took place in these four years should never be forgotten since they molded the modern world in ways that are still being felt to this day. It was only in 1956 that the U.S. turned it into Veteran's Day, a day to commemorate it as a day that all veterans of all of America's wars should be remembered on.

This poem is dedicated to the men of 1914-1918

In Flanders Fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
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, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

And to show how interesting history is, I discovered that on this day 90 years ago, when the rest of the world was putting down their weapons, a detachment of the American 339th Infantry Regiment (supported by soldiers of the British Royal Scots regiment as well as Canadian Artillery) was engaged with multiple units of Red Guards and irregular Bolshevik partisans near the village of Toulgas in Northern Russia. At the end of the battle, it was estimated that the Bolsheviks had lost over 300 dead and unknown numbers wounded. The Americans and their allies suffered 28 killed and 70 wounded. The Americans were in Russia to protect war supplies that had been sold to the Imperial Russian Government and to keep them from falling into the hands of the communist. This turned into a 6 month intervention to try to support the white forces in the Civil War.

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Another great piece on the 11th of November. I've enjoyed reading everyone's own little bit of stored or reflected history this last week.

Almost allof my Dad's comrades from WWII are gone now, and only their stories remain. I hope people will always remember to tell them.

Mike W. said...

Thanks Miss Brigid!

Maybe, just maybe, the old ones were right. If we tell the stories of the old warriors and the deeds that they did, that they never really leave us. They will always be here to inspire us and motivate us to follow their example.

At least I can hope so..... I know that they do so for me.