Tag Archives: war

Wednesday Words: 11 December 2013

Over the last year or two, there has been a lot of debate (not, I would add, without good cause) on the justification, cost, and effectiveness of our country’s involvement in military action. I came across these lines by Chesterton:

The men that worked for England
They have their graves at home:
And bees and birds of England
About the cross can roam.

But they that fought for England
Following a falling star,
Alas, alas for England
They have their graves afar.

And they that rule in England,
In stately conclave met,
Alas, alas for England
They have no graves as yet.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874 – 1936)

Note the time in which Chesterton lived. What’s changed?

Wednesday Words
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An Orange Spot

This post is in response to the prompt at ‘100 Word Challenge for grown-ups’ here. (You’ll also find a list of links to the other responses.) The brief, as you will see, was to include the concept of an ‘orange spot’ in a composition of 100 words. I couldn’t think of anything original, and then something reminded me of what it must have been like for people who witnessed the destruction of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but were far enough away not to be immediately killed or injured. What follows is fictitious, but there are true accounts that are similar.

We had started work early that day, as we always did during the war. The news had reached us, of course, that Germany had surrendered. We’d been told it made no difference to us. Anyway, I just chanced to look up from my paperwork and out of the window. Looking across the city, I suddenly saw a bright flash, and then, after a second or two, an orange spot that grew larger. As a massive plume of smoke formed above it, the noise reached us. It was an awful, terrifying roar like some wild, angry monster as the city died…

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The Red Box

This post was written in response to the ‘100 Word Challenge’ here, where there are links to many more responses. Although entirely fictional, there were, no doubt, many young widows for whom real life was similar to this.

From the bedroom window, Jean smiled at the sight of her grandson playing badminton with his father. Then the sadness hit home as she reflected that he had never had the chance to do this himself. Quietly, she moved to the bureau and took out the red box – her mother’s jewellery box. From the lower tray, she took out the photograph of a young man in R.A.F. uniform, several medals, and a watch. The face had been scratched by the breaking of the glass. The hands were flattened at nine minutes to four. Just nineteen minutes before his son was born that morning.

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The Gallery: Week 81 – 11.11.11

The eleventh day of the eleventh month of the two thousand and eleventh year, at eleven o’clock in the morning. The ninety-third anniversary of the armistice at the end of World War One. Once again, an anniversary acknowledged in a simple but moving and dignified way in the centre of Derby. The well-known verse of Binyon’s poem ‘For The Fallen’ was quoted aloud. (They shall grow not old…)

 One man and one woman from the services honour the fallen…

 …as the bugle sounds, and we remember the cost of our freedom.

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Lest we forget…

I’ll put it here, lest we forget:

If we say “The government should do more for…” and name a part of society or a worthy cause, then either we must also say that we agree to more taxation, or we must be prepared to say what part of society should get less, and why. You can’t use the same money twice.

If a military campaign is initiated, and a battle is fought, and afterwards a report states that ‘casualties were light’ it is likely that for some parents, siblings, widows, and children, casualties were extremely heavy. You can’t live the same life twice.

This post was prompted by the ‘100 word challenge’ here.
It is based on a few musings in the light of recent events. 

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