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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence that war remembrances all seem to happen together, or if we have so many wars that becomes a given.

Today is South Korea’s Memorial Day (and as I type this, there is a siren screaming outside, and many helicopters flying overhead, and I’m not sure if that is remembrance or incoming – I guess if I get to hit “send” we have an answer)..

That was very distracting, but reminded me of where I live. The last divided country . . . 

But, back to the beginning.

War remembrances.

This weekend was the Queen’s Birthday (Elizabeth) and her Diamond Jubilee, so the regent awarded honours (with a “u,” my American friends). I was honoUred to be invited to the New Zealand Embassy to witness a very specialKorean be awarded an honorary Order (of Merit of New Zealand).

Today is South Korea’s Memorial Day, when they pay respect to their war dead, not only from the Korean War, but from every other action or peace-keeping mission they have lost people in.

It is also the anniversary of D-Day.

I think we need more poetry in life.

I thought of that because of the war poetry I was just reading, and feel poetry is much more moving that facebook posts, but I think it could be expanded – I think we need more poetry in life, not just in war.

For today, we'll stay with war poets from the past,  that we quote short pieces from often on our memorial days, but are worth reading in full:

In Flanders fields

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
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.

John McCrae (1872–1918)

"For the Fallen"

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond 
England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)


  1. So you're a "journalist" and this is the best you can do for a blog? And you want to go over and rip David Axe?

    What a joke.

  2. bwahahahah

    (laughter over)

    I'm sorry little angry man, but where and when did I say I wanted to go anywhere and rip David Axe?

    You did get something correct - what a joke