Veteran’s Day: asking ourselves what it must have been like to live through…

The same thing happens whenever we attempt, incredulously, to peer into the past, asking ourselves what it must have been like to live through World War Two, the Holocaust, or during Stalin’s purges, the years of the greatest terror, and it seems impossible, inconceivable, to survive even an hour in such a nightmare—but for those who weren’t that day’s direct victims of persecution, there was always more reality, always some kind of weather, they were either hungry or well fed, a dog was barking somewhere, a plane flew overhead, Mother was making pierogi in the kitchen, you had to think about buying winter boots, making the soup … They went for walks in the park, they forgot for a moment. They were in love, happily or otherwise, they read Madame Bovary or some other nineteenth-century novel, the radio played a Schubert sonata. Anyone who spent his or her childhood in Stalin’s Poland will remember the scent of the first spring pussy willows and the stammering priest who taught catechism in a cramped parish hall smelling of floor polish better than the gigantic portraits of leaders floating awkwardly, flapping over the May Day Parade. Even the fear that paralyzed so many in its time evaporates as the years pass, becomes difficult to imagine. Especially fear, fear, which is like a migraine—it disappears and leaves no trace. Although it may leave scars upon the soul.


Notes:

  • Post Inspiration: In honor of all who served.
  • Photo: Daily Mail – “My hero big brother: Heart-wrenching moment a soldier’s grieving sister collapses in front of his grave at Arlington Cemetery”
  • Related Posts: Adam Zagajewski

November 11th: Sending out invisible, constant currents does immense good

armory-square-hospital

Devoted the main part of the day, from 11 to 3.30 o’clock, to Armory-square hospital; went pretty thoroughly through wards F, G, H, and I — some fifty cases in each ward. In Ward H supplied the men throughout with writing paper and a stamped envelope each, also some cheerful reading matter. […]

My custom is to go through a ward, or a collection of wards, endeavoring to give some trifle to each, without missing any. Even a sweet biscuit, a sheet of paper, or a passing word of friendliness, or but a look or nod, if no more. In this way I go through large numbers without delaying, yet do not hurry. I find out the general mood of the ward at the time; sometimes see that there is a heavy weight of listlessness prevailing, and the whole ward wants cheering up. I perhaps read to the men, to break the spell… […]

He who goes among the soldiers with gifts, etc., must beware how he proceeds. It is much more of an art than one would imagine. They are not charity-patients, but American young men, of pride and independence. The spirit in which you treat them, and bestow your donations, is just as important as the gifts themselves; sometimes more so. […]

To many of the wounded and sick, especially the youngsters, there is something in personal love, caresses, and the magnetic flood of sympathy and friendship, that does, in its way, more good than all the medicine in the world… Many will think this merely sentimentalism, but I know it is the most solid of facts. I believe that even the moving around among the men, or through the ward, of a hearty, healthy, clean, strong, generous-souled person, man or woman, full of humanity and love, sending out invisible, constant currents thereof, does immense good to the sick and wounded.

~ Walt Whitman, recounted his wartime experience in a diaristic piece titled “Hospital Visits,” published in The New York Times in December of 1864


Source: Quote – Brainpickings. Passage found in Walt Whitman: Poetry and Prose. Photo: Armory Square Hospital (1865)

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

Thom_Ross_The_Lead_Camel_with_Flag_Flaming_Cliffs_1235_53


Notes:

Take a moment

eagle-veterans-day-honor


Source: Alan ShapiroPaying Respects to our fallen heroes on Veteran’s Day (via milsotherapy)

Honor

veteran's day

No matter what your views on war, someone’s Father, Mother or child has put or is putting their life at risk for this country, for you, for me, for our families. Today, we honor those that serve and have served.

Former Georgia Senator and Governor Zell Miller :

“For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes:

Lord, bid war’s trumpet cease;
Fold the whole earth in peace.


Image Credit: Your Grace Is Enough

 

Lest we forget…

Remembrance Day, November 11, Veterans Day


In a tribute to our Veterans on Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in Canada, here is Eva Cassidy with her beautiful and moving rendition of Danny Boy.

↓ click for audio (Eva Cassidy – “Danny Boy”)

…But when ye come and all the roses falling,
And I am dead, as dead I well may be,
Go out and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.

And I will hear tho’ soft your tread above me,
And then my grave will warm and sweeter be.
For you shall bend and tell me that you love me,
And I will sleep in peace until you come to me.


Image Source: Lemonzers

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