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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Grateful Rememberance Day

Just got back from the UK a couple of days ago. On the bumpers of cars, on people's lapels and hats,  from Halloween weekend right up to this morning when we Yanks, republican and democratic, say "Happy Veterans Day", everywhere you went,  you could see a scarlet red poppy flower attached.

It's a little bit of lubricant for the social wheels here to say that.

The significance of the scarlet poppy has to do with a poem I had read in maybe 9th grade by a Canadian doctor named John Mc Crae who you might think of as Hawkeye if MASH was set in World War One.  Continental Europe and Great Britain got a lot harder of a deal out of that war than the USA. Our neighbors to the north, Canada, from where Dr. Mc Crae hailed, to this day are subjects of the British Crown. He had this to say about the war he saw:

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.

He had a few points there. The powers that be, the powers that we vote into office, and ask for employment , sustenance, and sufficient social order to pursue the same, managed to miss them. Brought us World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the whole Cold War.

I really hope for guidance. As a world, it frightens me that there are evil people out there doing evil and needing to be stopped. There are good people who stand up to that evil, even if it scares them to do so, and facing that evil down.  Doing the right thing, not the easy thing, as their day job. 

Right - that which promotes and affirms life and living.
Good  - that which promotes the right.
Wrong- that which detracts from and hinders life and living.
Evil - that which promotes wrong.

Could go into the whole casus belli of the entire current war, but wanted to mention  that I have known a few people who fought in earlier stages of it. They have done work that I am not suited to by temperament, experience, or age.  The work of fighting is by definition, NOT EASY.  I am liable to stand up to people who personally bring me evil. Sniffing out the masterminds of terrorist attacks that kill thousands at a whack or millions if another guy named Barry close to my age chooses the nuclear option to respond to it, that's way above my pay grade. And probably yours too.

And there's not as damned thing happy about why any war starts.

I'm very grateful if you personally or someone related to you fought to stop evil and lost their life to make your life and mine better and more worthwhile.  I'm even more grateful if you or someone close to you stood up to evil and came back to say so.

I plan on spending the rest of this day acting in accordance with my gratitude, and where I can cut down the ambient level of evil,  standing up and so doing. Even if that means keeping my own worst instincts in check. Maybe if everyone started there, we might, as a world, live to remember the very last war.

Dr Mc Crae hoped the war he saw was the very last one there would be.  It's kind of a shame that he was wrong about that.

All respect and gratitude to those who tried to keep Dr Mc Crae from being any more wrong. Today because the world says so. Every other day because I am able to get up and see to employment and sustenance and shelter and personal safety and security without a boot or gun pointed my way.

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