After the silliness that was yesterday’s post, I’d like to do a 180 and be serious today. It’s Veterans’ Day in the United States, a day to remember all armed services veterans, and in the UK it’s Remembrance Day, to honor the armed services members who lost their lives in the line of duty. Being American and Canadian, I observe both.
Remembrance Day was started by King George V in 1919, and it’s observed on November 11th because the armistice of The Great War, later called World War I, formally ended its fighting “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.” The war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.
Red poppies became the symbol of Remembrance Day because of the poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who himself died in The Great War.
In Flanders fields the poppies grow,
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.
I never learned much about WWI in school. When we studied American or world history, by the time we got to the 20th century in the history books, the school year was over or almost so, and the last few chapters were rushed. WWII got much more class time than its predecessor, perhaps because it was so fresh in the minds of our teachers and parents.
Similarly, there are many more movies about WWII than WWI. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) is a classic and is worth watching for the excellent acting, horrors of war, and its anti-war sentiment. Paths of Glory (1957) is another one, not so well-known despite its star, Kirk Douglas, and its director, Stanley Kubrick.
But my favorite movie about WWI is the multi-Genie-award-winning Passchendaele (2008). This film, which culminates in the bloody battle of Passchendaele (pronounce it “passion-dale”), was written by, directed by, and stars Paul Gross, and I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t the biggest reason I’m nuts about this film. It’s one you hate or love, I think, and despite instances of corniness and jarringly modern dialogue, I’m in the “love” camp. I think it was too romantic for a lot of guys. Oh well, can’t please ‘em all. It’s rated R for language, numerous scenes of graphic war violence, and some scenes of sexuality.
If you watch a trailer for it, careful you don’t stumble across one that gives away major plot points. Here’s a safe one:
Or direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6WYHagWdeE
Finally, here’s a red polish for the day, Carmen by Zoya. It’s an older one from their Classics and is a good true red creme, nothing fancy. I needed three coats for good coverage but it’s quite glossy even without a top coat.
Remembering my first cousin, Pte. Joseph Gerard Stanley Beardmore, served in the Royal Canadian Regiment, died 11 October 1951, age 24. Buried in the United Nations Cemetery, Busan, South Korea.