Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The things they left behind

"There is a mystery in that also. How did the anonymous millions, indistinguishably drab, deprived of any scrap of the glories that by tradition made the life of the man-at-arms tolerable, find the resolution to sustain the struggle and to believe in its purpose? That they did is one of the undeniabilities of the Great War. Comradeship flourished in the earthwork cities of the Western and Eastern Fronts, bound strangers into the closest brotherhood, elevated loyalties created within the ethos of temporary regimentaility to the status of life-and-death blood ties. Men whom the trenches cast into intimacy entered into the bonds of mutual dependency and sacrifice of self stronger than any of the friendships made in peace and better times. That is the ultimate mystery of the First World War. If we could understand its loves, as well as its hates, we would be nearer understanding the mystery of human life."

~John Keegan, The First World War

One of the better monologues on the subject of war and its effects on those who fight it, and why some of them miss combat, despite how awful the experience can be.

Oregon's memorial garden for its citizens who died in Vietnam. One of the most tranquil places in Portland.

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