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poppy
Posted on 2008.11.11 at 16:37
where am I: it's cold in my room.
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My father was born on July 15, 1928, so he was twelve years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked and the US officially entered the Second World War. According to family stories, he was about thirteen when he first tried to join the Navy. When he was fifteen, he managed to get accepted by using an older friend's identification.

He got stationed on a ship and had been there for some time when he heard his REAL name called. Needless to say he was plenty scared about that, and I'm sure fears of court-martial or worse went through his head. His commanding officer called him aside, and told him he didn't know whether to throw him out or pin a medal on him. I'm not sure what happened immediately after that, but he definitely wasn't court-martialled or thrown out. He ended up staying in the Navy, stationed on ships in both WWII and Korea. He only left because his being in harm's way so much was extremely stressful for my mother.

Later in life he went back and worked for the Navy doing quality control. When he died in 1989, he was buried at Quantico National Cemetery, with full military honours, including a 21-gun salute. I didn't understand the meaning behind an honour like that, and back then it disturbed me, because I took it to mean a glorification of war. I've since learned otherwise, that a military burial, with its bugles and guns and salutes, is a great big giant thank you to the soldiers and sailors. It doesn't glorify war, it laments it. At least that's how I feel now that I'm older.

I may not agree with a given war and its politics, but I support the people who have fought them in good faith, everywhere. I thank them, and especially, I thank my dad.





In related news, as a general rule I don't post "In Flanders Fields" every year for a couple of reasons. First, it was written before my country entered the war, about a battle we didn't attend. Although Americans are surely included in the spirit of the poem, the fact is that it really wasn't written for us. Second, enough people post it every year that for me to do it yet again would make it feel more trite and take away from the very real feelings the poem engenders.

Having said all that, I couldn't NOT share this recording, because a. It meets my battle descendant criteria, b. it's a recording, not just another copy/paste, and c. lightning might strike me dead otherwise.

In Flanders Fields

_scally found the .flv file, and all I did was press a button to convert it to .mp3. I am not worthy of her mad finding skillz.

Comments:


Aingeal
aingeal8c at 2008-11-11 22:32 (UTC) ()
I may not agree with a given war and its politics, but I support the people who have fought them in good faith, everywhere. I thank them, and especially, I thank my dad.

A wonderful summing up. Really.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-11-12 00:17 (UTC) ()
Well, it's the truth. I HATE the Iraq war and every bit of American imperialism it stands for, but I totally support the troops who are fighting it and hope every last one of them comes home really, really soon.

Also, you downloaded the recording, right?
There's no poopin' on the bus y'know...
euphoricagony at 2008-11-11 23:44 (UTC) ()
In related news, as a general rule I don't post "In Flanders Fields" every year for a couple of reasons. First, it was written before my country entered the war, about a battle we didn't attend. Although Americans are surely included in the spirit of the poem, the fact is that it really wasn't written for us.


I was so surprised when I read this....I've found that, outside of Canada, most people don't even realize "In Flanders Fields" was written by a Canadian, let alone which battle it refers to. (Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, Canadian Army) That poem is Remembrance Day to us, and holds very powerful meaning.

And thanks for also knowing/acknowledging it's not just Veteran's Day....that some still refer to is as Armistice Day and it's Remembrance Day for others.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-11-12 04:40 (UTC) ()
I've found that, outside of Canada, most people don't even realize "In Flanders Fields" was written by a Canadian, let alone which battle it refers to.

I'm kind of a weird American--I collect Canadiana in a country where the average citizen probably couldn't pick Stephen Harper out in a photograph. Not to mention that WWI is a hella interesting war, for all that it was a lot of lives lost for no good reason. And I fell in love with the Memorial Chapel (and the rest of the building) during my first visit to Ottawa in summer, 2007. You can feel the affection and pride when you first walk in. Everyone immediately dropped their voices, like they were walking into a church. I took a bunch of pictures while I was there, including this one (the marble to make these plaques comes from France and Belgium).

And thanks for also knowing/acknowledging it's not just Veteran's Day....that some still refer to is as Armistice Day and it's Remembrance Day for others.

I like "Remembrance Day" for a name. It's more accurate than "Veterans Day", because the remembrance is FOR veterans, but it's BY the ones left behind at home (this is one reason I loved Passchendaele so much--its main theme is that war isn't just on the battlefield, it's here at home, too).

The U.S. celebrates Memorial Day every May, and I've always wondered why we have two official holidays where we acknowledge the same thing. I think "Memorial Day" is a more fitting name, for the reasons I gave above, athough the Nov. 11 date is more appropriate, IMO (and if anyone can tell me why the U.S. has both official holidays, I'd love to know).

France still calls it Armistice Day (only they call it Jour d'armistice, naturally *g*). I heard on NPR tonight that this is the first Armistice day without a living French veteran of the Great War. It's sad sometimes how time marches on.

Edited at 2008-11-13 02:50 (UTC)
The dreamer is still asleep
inspiredlife at 2008-11-12 03:16 (UTC) ()
this was a beautiful post. as someone who doesn't support the current war but has nine loved one fights in it, i appreciated reading it. thank you for sharing your thoughts.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-11-12 04:11 (UTC) ()
Aww, you're welcome!
Катерина
_scally at 2008-11-12 09:37 (UTC) ()
Thanks for converting!
I tried to convert it, biut for some reason I couldn't.

BTW, I found the recording on Passchendaele Flash Site - "Remember" section.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2008-11-12 22:44 (UTC) ()
I haven't seen that section. Yay!
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