Britain remembered its war dead today
with wreath layings at The Cenotaph
in London. Today's ceremony, Remembrance Sunday, comes three days before the anniversary of the November 1918 Armistice that ended the war. his is the first I've heard of Remembrance Sunday which means either I am uninformed about British ceremonial customs (very possible) or this is a one-time event since it comes during the first year of the World War I centennial.
Be that as it may, today's wreath-laying, combined with the poppy display
at the Tower of London is a fitting remembrance of the almost 900,000 British and Colonial troops who died in The Great War. Compared to the art and presence of the of the display and British flare for ceremony, American Veterans Day ceremonies will seem kind of pale. Maybe when the country begins noticing the WWI centennial in the years marking our own entry into the war in 1917 we will do something to match today's event in Britain but all of the eVeterans Day events I am aware of seem pretty routine (along with much of the nation noting the day's significance in passing, if at all).
November 11 has less meaning for me as Veterans Day than it does as Remembrance Day and Armistice Day, its original name. I don't gainsay veterans recognition for their service and sacrifice, a debt we can should never forget. But recognizing veterans is only part of the story. We must also remember how ill-advised were the causes for which they have served. Maybe World War II was The Good War but it would have never happened but for the vindictive Versailles Treaty
ending World War I which itself was certainly pointless
The many wars and interventions since 1945 reflect a flawed and paranoid American view of the world that buggers our national values and squanders our wealth and our blood.
That's why we should remember more than our veterans.
At The Cenotaph
I saw the Prince of Darkness, with his Staff,
Standing bare-headed by the Cenotaph:
Unostentatious and respectful, there
He stood, and offered up the following prayer.
'Make them forget, O Lord, what this Memorial
Means; their discredited ideas revive;
Breed new belief that War is purgatorial
Proof of the pride and power of being alive;
Men's biologic urge to readjust
The Map of Europe, Lord of Hosts, increase;
Lift up their hearts in large destructive lust;
And crown their heads with blind vindictive Peace.'
The Prince of Darkness to the Cenotaph
Bowed. As he walked away I heard him laugh.
Labels: the path to perdition, veterans