Sunday, 11 November 2018

100 YEARS AGO

... the Great War finally ended.



And after the photo opportunities for politicians, royalty, and religious leaders are done, we can reflect on the utter slaughter of a generation at the hands of these very types of people who start every war.

No-one can ever, as much as a few historians and commentators will try, justify the senseless way the war was conducted and how lives were thrown away by arrogant and incompetent generals.

Some will argue that vital lessons were learnt on the Somme ... all were thrown away in the massacre at Passchendaele a year later. 

Haig only kept his job because he was a friend of the king.

Siegfried Sassoon worried people would soon forget what had happened, but ironically, thanks to people like him we DON'T forget.



Aftermath

Have you forgotten yet?...
For the world's events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you're a man reprieved to go,
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
But the past is just the same--and War's a bloody game...
Have you forgotten yet?...
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you'll never forget.

Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench--
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, 'Is it all going to happen again?'

Do you remember that hour of din before the attack--
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads--those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

Have you forgotten yet?...
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you'll never forget.


©Siegfried Sassoon

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