Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

Remembrance Day is the one day of the year that I read "In Flanders Fields." It is all about being connected, about paying back in some small, more like infinitesimal way, the great debt that we owe to those who did not make it back from the many battles that had to be fought, so that we could be a democracy, so that women could be considered "people", so that people could be gay, or right or left or what ever they wanted to be and  pray to whom ever they wanted to, and say whatever they wanted to, without being destroyed.

Given the quality of life in other parts of the world, where people just do not have our freedoms,  we have to say, that if it weren't for uncle Bob, cousin Bill, my grandfather, your great grandfather, we would be as closeted, as subjugated, as shackled, as "they".  One day is not enough.  But if it is just one day, that we publicly acknowledge our debit, than make it a day that is full of love and rich with meaning. Make it a day that we really celebrate their lives - and somehow have this gratitude, this love,  pass through time and touch their souls!

I have often thought... What is it about this poem, "In Flanders Fields" that has endured?  It has never been replaced. No one has ever said that they have found another poem, song or story with more meaning, more cadence, more emotional "pull" than the few lines written by a young man from Guelph, Ontario during the first world war. In fact, this is such a moving piece that it has taken on a life of its own - in song and dance, perhaps what better place than youtube, for all the world to see and acknowledge.  Now I know that we will never forget.

Sorry there will be no comment on knitting or dinner, just a comment on the title of the post. It is the last lines of a poem by Wilfred Owen actually orginally penned by Horace - The poem is a very graphic description of the ugliness of war and the poet ends by saying: do not tell your children, the old lie: 

Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori. - It is sweet and fitting to die for your country. 

There is really nothing sweet about it. Tomorrow is another day.

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