Veteran’s Day and Remembrance Day 2016

Leonard Cohen died yesterday.

Today, through the magic of technology, his voices still lives to lament the dead of World War I.

Listen, if you can.

Look, if you dare.

7 thoughts on “Veteran’s Day and Remembrance Day 2016

  1. Tears … only tears … never-ending tears as I listen to this. Tears that blur those photos which were burned into my memory long, long ago.

    I feel so ashamed that I will soon be gone and will not witness that torch once more being picked up and held high. It used to be.

    The quarrels with our new, ever-threatening foe, seems they might not be taken up by the current generation.

    At least I can say a lot of us did try and do what was right. I was born early 1944 and though I did my duty as best I could for Queen and Country, I have often wished that I had been born in early 1844 when life may have been simpler, though crueller and harsher.

    • Yes, always tears at the waste of so many young lives. Every little town in Australia has a public memorial to those who died in WW1. My nearest town has just 2700 souls, but its memorial lists scores of the dead (I’ll have to count them next time I’m in town), many with the same surnames so they were brothers and cousins. The grief of their families doesn’t bear thinking about.

      Lest we forget.

  2. I was not born in Canada. I lived here for the last 18 years and now I am considering leaving. I was born and raised in Hungary, where being a soldier/warrior was just something came to take its toll on every generation for the last 600 years. My grandma’s brother died in the Great War. My Grandfather fought in the same war and he was lucky, he survived. As reward he was taken to fight in the Second world war on the Russian front. He was lucky again and came back from Siberia, 4 years after the war ended.
    My dad is a history buff and I did learn a lot about the two great wars of the 20th century from him. I admired the heroes of Verdun, Vimy Ridge and ones who died at Dieppe, Normandy and other parts of the world.
    Having said that, there are things really bugs me with the present Canadian government. If those veterans would be alive today, they would be screaming in anger!
    Let’s see if I can translate today’s issues back to the Second World War era…
    So 1938-1941…
    The Canadian government accepts a motion about Naziphobia. The highest level of the court states that facts can be hate speech, to crack down on people who dare to protest the Nazis. Guests from the glorious Germany invited: SS Sturmbannfuhrers to speak about the wonderful accomplishments of the Third Reich. Large number of migrants from Germany arrive to Canada: All pure Aryan, to build the 1000 year Empire to the glory of the Führer. Unaccompanied minors: Hitlerjugend arrive to take over in schools with the full financial support of the Canadian taxpayers.
    You get the picture! This is what happening in Canada suppressed with Political Correctness and Hate Speech laws.

    I doubt that the heroes can’t lay rest in peace, while this is happening on the land they gave their life! SHAME!

  3. 2 poem from my favorite poet in Hungary: Miklós Radnóti (died while he was marched to his death toward a concentration camp)

    I know not what…

    I know not what to strangers this dear landscape might mean,
    to me it is my birthplace, this tiny spot of green;
    ringed now with fire, it was, once, my childhood rocking me;
    I grew there as a fragile branch from the parent tree;
    O may my body sink back to that life-giving soil.
    This land is home to me: for if a bush should kneel
    before my feet I know its name just as it’s flower,
    I know who walks the road, whither and at what hour,
    I know what it might mean if reddening pain should fall
    dripping some summer dusk down the lintel or the wall.
    For him who flies above it, a map is all he sees,
    this living scape of being but symbols and degrees;
    the reader of the maplines has neither known nor felt
    the place where the great Mihály Vörösmarty dwelt;
    what’s hidden in the map? yes, barracks, mills and arms,
    but for me crickets, oxen, steeples, quiet farms;
    with field-glasses he marks the crops and industries,
    but I, the trembling labourer, the forest trees,
    the twittering orchards, vine props with their tended grapes,
    and the old granny in the graveyard where she weeps;
    and what is targeted as rail or factory
    is just a lineman by his signal-box to me,
    and children watch him wave his red flag for the guard,
    and sheepdogs roll and tumble in the foundry yard;
    and in the park the trace of loves who once loved me,
    the honey taste of kisses sweet as bilberry,
    and on the way to school you’d not step on a crack,
    let you’d forget your lesson or break your mother’s back;
    the pilot cannot see that paving-stone, that grass:
    to see all this there is no instrument or glass.

    For we are guilty too, as others are,
    we know how we have sinned, in what, and when and where:
    but working people live here, poets in innocence,
    breast-feeding infants with their dawned intelligence,
    and one day it will brighten, hid now in safety’s bark,
    till peace shall write upon our land its shining mark
    and answer our choked words in sentences of light.

    With great wings cover us, O guardian cloud of night.

    January 17, 1944.

    Translated by Zsuzsanna Ozsváth and Frederick Turner

    Fragment (Angol)

    I lived upon this earth in such an age
    when man was so debased he sought to murder
    for pleasure, not just to comply with orders,
    his faith in falsehoods drove him to corruption,
    his life was ruled by raving self-deceptions.

    I lived upon this earth in such an age
    that idolized the sly police informers,
    whose heroes were the killers, spies, the thieves –
    and the few who held their peace or only failed
    to cheer were loathed like victims of the plague.

    I lived upon this earth in such an age
    when those who risked protest were wise to hide
    and gnaw their fists in self-consuming shame –
    the crazed folk grinned about their terrifying
    doomed future, wild and drunk on blood and mire.

    I lived upon this earth in such an age
    when the mother of an infant was a curse,
    when pregnant women were glad to abort,
    the living envied the corpses in the graves

    while on the table foamed their poisoned cup.
    I lived upon this earth in such an age
    when even the poet fell silent and waited in hope
    for an ancient, terrible voice to rise again –
    for no-one could utter a fitting curse of such horror
    but the scholar of dreadful words, Isaiah the prophet.


    Translated by Ország-Land, Thomas

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