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Tag Archives: War

The Christmas Truce – WW1

This is one of my favorite stories from Christmas past. I am reposting this from the archives of November, 2005.

Christmas_in_the_Trenches_07

WWI veteran, 109, was Scotland’s oldest man

LONDON, England (AP) — Alfred Anderson, the last surviving soldier to have heard the guns fall silent along the Western Front during the spontaneous “Christmas Truce” of World War I, died Monday at age 109.

More than 80 years after the war, Anderson recalled the “eerie sound of silence” as shooting stopped and soldiers clambered from trenches to greet one another December 25, 1914.

His parish priest, the Rev. Neil Gardner, said Anderson died in his sleep early Monday at a nursing home in Newtyle, Scotland. His death leaves fewer than 10 veterans of World War I alive in Britain.

Born June 25, 1896, Anderson was an 18-year-old soldier in the Black Watch regiment when British and German troops cautiously emerged from the trenches that Christmas Day in 1914. The enemies swapped cigarettes and tunic buttons, sang carols and even played soccer amid the mud, barbed wire and shell-holes of no man’s land.

The informal truce spread along much of the 500-mile Western Front, in some cases lasting for days — alarming army commanders who feared fraternization would sap the troops’ will to fight. The next year brought the start of vast battles of attrition that claimed 10 million lives, and the Christmas truce was never repeated.

“I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence,” Anderson told The Observer newspaper last year.

“All I’d heard for two months in the trenches was the hissing, cracking and whining of bullets in flight, machine-gun fire and distant German voices,” said Anderson, who was billeted in a French farmhouse behind the front lines.

“But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted ‘Merry Christmas,’ even though nobody felt merry. The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war.”

During the war, Anderson served briefly as batman — or valet — to Capt. Fergus Bowes-Lyon, brother of the Queen Mother Elizabeth. Bowes-Lyon was killed at the Battle of Loos in 1915.

Prince Charles said he was “deeply saddened” by Anderson’s death and recalled meeting him several times. “We should not forget him, and the others of his generation who have given so much for their country,” the heir to the British throne said.

Anderson fought in France until 1916, when he was wounded by shrapnel. In 1998, he was awarded France’s Legion of Honor for his war service.

Anderson was Scotland’s oldest man. The country’s First Minister, Jack McConnell, said he “represented the generation of young Scots who fought in the First World War, and endured unimaginable horrors.”

“Many of them made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and we must never forget what they have given to us.”

Lt. Col. Roddy Riddell, regimental secretary of the Black Watch, said Anderson’s death marked “the end of the epoch.”

“The entire regiment is in mourning and we are all the sadder for his passing,” he said.

Gardner said Anderson “was quite philosophical about his wartime experiences.” Anderson himself said he tried to put them out of his mind.

“I think about all my friends who never made it home,” he said once. “But it’s too sad to think too much about it. Far too sad.”

In later years, Anderson spoke often of the guilt he felt over the loss of friends and comrades.

“I felt so guilty meeting the families of friends who were lost,” he told The Times newspaper this month. “They looked at me as if I should have been left in the mud of France instead of their loved one. I couldn’t blame them, they were grieving, and I still share their grief and bear that feeling of guilt.”

 

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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Christmas, History, Holiday, People, Politics, Vintage

 

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Veteran’s Day – Hope for Peace

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Veteran’s Day: Keeping Faith With The Original Intent of Armistice Day

WASHINGTON – November 10 – A veterans’ organization ask the nation to remember the original intent of Veterans Day.

The original Armistice Day ended World War I on November 11, 1918, but not before nearly 30 million soldiers had been killed or wounded, and over seven million taken prisoner.

Congress responded to a universal hope that this would never happen again and passed a resolution calling for “…exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding…inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches…with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”  Congress later resolved November 11 was to be “…a day dedicated to the cause of world peace.”

Of the many veterans’ organizations in the U.S., one exists specifically to carry out the original purpose of Armistice Day, now celebrated as Veterans’ Day.  In word as well as action, Veterans For Peace, a national organization with 120 chapters, is dedicated to the cause of peace.

“Unfortunately Veterans Day has turned into a day to support war rather than a day to reflect on the horrors of war and the need to work for peace,” said Veterans For peace Executive Director Michael McPhearson. “Veterans For Peace has over 120 chapters around the country, many of whom will be commemorating veterans day by marching in traditional parades, conducting solemn ceremonies and vigils to give an alternative view about war and the meaning of the day,” McPhearson went on to say.

“Our statement of purpose is clear and direct when it says we intend to ‘abolish war as an instrument of national policy.’  We want this generation of veterans to be the last,” said VFP president Elliott Adams.

The former Army paratrooper and Viet Nam veteran added, “We not only speak out for peace, our organization works towards it every single day. We will continue to do so and in fact increase our efforts as VFP seeks to raise awareness of the human and monetary cost of war in the face of the global economic crisis.”

Please visit www.veteransforpeace.org to learn more about VFP Veterans Day activities.

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Veterans For Peace was founded in 1985 and includes veterans of all eras and wars from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and current Iraq wars as well as other conflicts cold or hot.  It has participated in every major demonstration against the war in Iraq.  Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop and that those hurt are often the innocent.  VFP is represented at the UN as an official Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).
Link

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2008 in Art, Photography

 

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“Mourning”

Magazine Photographer of the Year

First Place
John Moore Getty Images “Memorial Day At Arlington” Mary McHugh mourns her slain fiance Sgt. James Regan at the Arlington National Cemetery May 27, 2006, Memorial Day weekend. Regan, a U.S. Army Ranger from Long Island, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in February, and this was the first time McHugh had visited the grave since the funeral. When he died, Regan was on his fourth combat deployment – twice in Afghanistan and twice in Iraq..

Pictures of the Year International

Second Place – Newspaper
Katie Falkenberg The Washington Times

“A College Mourns” On April 16, on the usually quiet campus of Virginia Tech, student turned gunman Cho Seung-Hui opened fire in a dormitory, followed by a shooting spree in the classrooms of Norris Hall, killing a total of 32 students and professors before taking his own life. As the death toll rose, it became the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. In the hours and days following the tragedy, there was an outpouring of grief and great mourning among the Virginia Tech community as they gathered to comfort one another and pay tribute to those killed. A student cries at the memorial set up near Norris Hall in remembrance of the 32 students and professors who were murdered.

Pictures of the Year International

 
 

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The Christmas Truce

This is one of my favorite stories from Christmas past. I am reposting this from the archives of November 2005.

WWI veteran, 109, was Scotland’s oldest man

LONDON, England (AP) — Alfred Anderson, the last surviving soldier to have heard the guns fall silent along the Western Front during the spontaneous “Christmas Truce” of World War I, died Monday at age 109.

More than 80 years after the war, Anderson recalled the “eerie sound of silence” as shooting stopped and soldiers clambered from trenches to greet one another December 25, 1914.

His parish priest, the Rev. Neil Gardner, said Anderson died in his sleep early Monday at a nursing home in Newtyle, Scotland. His death leaves fewer than 10 veterans of World War I alive in Britain.

Born June 25, 1896, Anderson was an 18-year-old soldier in the Black Watch regiment when British and German troops cautiously emerged from the trenches that Christmas Day in 1914. The enemies swapped cigarettes and tunic buttons, sang carols and even played soccer amid the mud, barbed wire and shell-holes of no man’s land.

The informal truce spread along much of the 500-mile Western Front, in some cases lasting for days — alarming army commanders who feared fraternization would sap the troops’ will to fight. The next year brought the start of vast battles of attrition that claimed 10 million lives, and the Christmas truce was never repeated.

“I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence,” Anderson told The Observer newspaper last year.

“All I’d heard for two months in the trenches was the hissing, cracking and whining of bullets in flight, machine-gun fire and distant German voices,” said Anderson, who was billeted in a French farmhouse behind the front lines.

“But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted ‘Merry Christmas,’ even though nobody felt merry. The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war.”

During the war, Anderson served briefly as batman — or valet — to Capt. Fergus Bowes-Lyon, brother of the Queen Mother Elizabeth. Bowes-Lyon was killed at the Battle of Loos in 1915.

Prince Charles said he was “deeply saddened” by Anderson’s death and recalled meeting him several times. “We should not forget him, and the others of his generation who have given so much for their country,” the heir to the British throne said.

Anderson fought in France until 1916, when he was wounded by shrapnel. In 1998, he was awarded France’s Legion of Honor for his war service.

Anderson was Scotland’s oldest man. The country’s First Minister, Jack McConnell, said he “represented the generation of young Scots who fought in the First World War, and endured unimaginable horrors.”

“Many of them made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and we must never forget what they have given to us.”

Lt. Col. Roddy Riddell, regimental secretary of the Black Watch, said Anderson’s death marked “the end of the epoch.”

“The entire regiment is in mourning and we are all the sadder for his passing,” he said.

Gardner said Anderson “was quite philosophical about his wartime experiences.” Anderson himself said he tried to put them out of his mind.

“I think about all my friends who never made it home,” he said once. “But it’s too sad to think too much about it. Far too sad.”

In later years, Anderson spoke often of the guilt he felt over the loss of friends and comrades.

“I felt so guilty meeting the families of friends who were lost,” he told The Times newspaper this month. “They looked at me as if I should have been left in the mud of France instead of their loved one. I couldn’t blame them, they were grieving, and I still share their grief and bear that feeling of guilt.”

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2007 in Art, Current Events, Inspirational, Meditation, People, Politics

 

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“Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream”

Searching for spring…………., originally uploaded by *Gracie.

Words and music by Ed McCurdy

Video

Last night I had the strangest dream,
I never dreamed before.
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war.
I dreamed I saw a mighty room,
The room was filled with men.
And the papers they were signing said
They’d never fight again.

And when the papers were all signed,
And a million copies made
They all joined hands and bowed their heads,
And grateful prayers were made.
And the people in the streets below,
They all danced round and round.
And guns and swords and uniforms
Were scattered on the ground.

Last night I had the strangest dream,
I never dreamed before.
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war.
I dreamed I saw a mighty room,
The room was filled with men.
And the papers they were signing said
They’d never fight again.

When I awoke, twas but a dream,
and peace a dirty word
I tried to tell them of my dream,
but not a word they heard
And then I got me fighting mad,
and I knew just what I’d do
I’d fight nonviolently for peace,
until my dream came true.

 

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Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

cem1.jpg

Peter, Paul and Mary video

Where Have all the Flowers Gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone?
Taken husbands every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young men gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Covered with flowers every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Words and music by Pete Seeger, ©1961 (Renewed) Fall River Music Inc., All Rights Reserved.

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Posted by on January 26, 2007 in Art, Current Events, Music, People, Photography, Politics

 

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New Year’s Resolutions – Saddam’s Hanging!

Do you make those year after year to repeatedly find it’s kind of a silly tradition that makes for good dinner conversation weeks later? Anyway, this post was not in reference to that topic ( I got sidetracked as usual) but to acknowledge my surprise that the number 1 blogs are those with the uncut, raw footage of Saddam’s hanging. Are we still so barbaric in nature that we must collectively come together throughout the world to celebrate a man’s death? I ask myself again, “What year is this?”

Do not think I have any fond feelings for the dictator however it would have been an opportunity for us to actually charge him for killing thousands but we chose to keep the skeletons buried.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind!

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2007 in Current Events, People, Photography, Politics

 

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