Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

They fought and some died for their homeland.

They fought and some died, now it's our land.
Look at his little child; there's no fear in her eyes.
Could he not show respect for other dads who have died?

Take two minutes, would you mind?

It's a pittance of time,
For the boys and the girls who went over.
In peace may they rest, may we never forget why they died.
It's a pittance of time.

~ Terry Kelly: A Pittance of Time

By the end of the Great War there were
37,508,686 casualties—killed,
wounded, missing; the world lost a whole generation of young men

It is well that war is so terrible - otherwise we would grow too fond of it. ~ Robert E. Lee

You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way. ~ Will Rogers

War is not nice. ~ Barbara Bush

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. ~ John F. Kennedy

Well, how do you do, Private William McBride,
Do you mind if I sit down here by your graveside?
And rest for awhile in the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done.
And I see by your gravestone you were only 19
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916,
Well, I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean
Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did the play the pipes lowly?
Did the rifles fir o'er you as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles sound The Last Post in chorus?
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?

And I can't help but wonder, now Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you "The Cause?"
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?

Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.[1]


  1. thanks for this Nick. My grandpa fought in BOTH ww1 and ww2 and was injured on the day WW2 ended, which left him disabled his whole life.

    We must never forget, lest we be too keen to repeat.


  2. I agree, Pink. We have forgotten so often and the statistics of casualties keep growing.

  3. Thanks for your comment, Nick. I know the song you quote from...war is obscene, as well as senseless. It's waged in the name of greed and to heap (so-called) kudos on egotistical and arrogant dictators...and I include the leaders of "civilised" Western countries in that, too.

  4. Puss-in-Boots, we do well to include the leaders of "civilized" Western countries among the war mongers,

  5. Wonderful post.

    Once I read that poem again, I realized I've heard it sung. I think by the Irish Tenors but I'm not sure.

    They said WWI was the war to end all wars. How soon they forgot.

  6. You did will, Rev Saint. You have the ability to say so much and send my mind into a new direction each time I read what you write.

  7. ` I like the political comic. I know, that guy really does seem to not care about anyone.

  8. War is the most horrible collective crime of humanity, for which all of us should take the blame.

  9. Hi Nick ~~ This is a wonderful post for Veterans Day, or Remembrance Day. I love that Eric Bogle song and The Pittance of Time. It surely isn't too much to ask that we stop and remember those brave men and women who gave their lives. There were services here and the laying of wreaths.
    It used to be 2 minutes silence, but it is down to 1 minute. Even the radio goes silent for that minute.
    We also observe Anzac day in April
    and that is a Public holiday here and in New Zealand.
    Take care Nick, Regards, Merle.

  10. an absolutely beautiful tribute!!!! Thank you!!