Saturday Sounds

…and color, for the First World War:

I didn’t get to see this film during its brief time in theaters late last month, but look forward to seeing it on home video.  It’s amazing what adding color and sound does to make the events of a century ago “more real.”

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When the guns fell silent

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the guns fell silent across a traumatized Europe. “Christendom” was also a casualty of the war. After the horrific fratricide between the European peoples, Western Civilization would never be the same.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
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.

by John McCrae (1872-1918)

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In 2014, the Tower of London placed 888,246 ceramic poppies — one for each British servicemember who died in World War I — in the moat around the Tower.  In all, an estimated 10 million soldiers perished in the war — an average of about 6,000 each day.  Another 10 million civilians were killed, either as a result of military action, or the effects of famine, disease and social breakdown.  A generation later, a Second World War would more than triple the human cost of the First. 

War is a tragic part of humanity’s fallen nature, and we will never be free of it this side of Eternity.  But let us be thankful the world has yet to revisit such wholesale slaughter. 

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