Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remember, that we don't repeat our mistakes of the past

Today is remembrance day, a day to pay respect to our veterans of the wars of old. Unfortunately, many use this as a time to also justify taking in battle of ethnocentricities and 'we're better than them' mentalities frightfully similar to the regime so many fought a mere sixtyish years ago

Despite this co-opting of such a solemn day for hegemonic purposes, I still carry my poppy with me, for those who had the courage of their convictions to fight ALL genocidal regimes, not just those who are profitable to oust. As opposed to the paper poppies, I have a special keychain I purchased at the War Museum which is with me at all times. If you ever have a chance to go, I suggest it. It's a moving experience.

I carry it for the thousands, I carry it for my Uncle Jack Lemon who died in battle, I carry it for my Uncle Keith Lemon, who although he wasn't killed, was still lost to the war inside himself. I carry it for my Great-Granpa Earl Lemon who took part in both world wars.

I also carry it for the men who risked their lives (many unwillingly) in Vietnam, only to be spit on by the masses upon their return.

Although I disagree with this so-called 'War on Terrorism' -- or as I prefer to call it "War on the Other" -- I hold respect for those who choose to fight, for they have the courage of their convictions, even if those convictions disagree with my own. I hold no respect for the Administration behind them, however.

That's my political moment for the day.

Well, how do you do, Private William McBride, 
Do you mind if I sit down here by your graveside? 
And rest for awhile in the warm summer sun, 
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done. 
And I see by your gravestone you were only 19 
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916, 
Well, I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean 
Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene? 

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did the play the pipes lowly? 
Did the rifles fir o'er you as they lowered you down? 
Did the bugles sound The Last Post in chorus? 
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest? 

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind 
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined? 
And, though you died back in 1916, 
To that loyal heart are you forever 19? 
Or are you a stranger without even a name, 
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane, 
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained, 
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame? 

The sun's shining down on these green fields of France; 
The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance. 
The trenches have vanished long under the plow; 
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now. 
But here in this graveyard that's still No Man's Land 
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand 
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man. 
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned. 

And I can't help but wonder, no Willie McBride, 
Do all those who lie here know why they died? 
Did you really believe them when they told you "The Cause?" 
Did you really believe that this war would end wars? 
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame 
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain, 
For Willie McBride, it all happened again, 
And again, and again, and again, and again.

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