Friday, September 25, 2009

Up The Road We Staggered

Up the road we staggered, shells bursting around us. A man stopped dead in front of me, and exasperated I cursed him and butted him with my knee. Very gently he said, "I'm blind, Sir," and turned to show me his eyes and nose torn away by a piece of shell. "Oh God! I'm sorry, sonny," I said. "Keep going on the hard part," and left him staggering back in his darkness...A tank had churned its way slowly behind Springfield and opened fire; a moment later I looked and nothing remained of it but a crumpled heap of iron; it had been hit by a large shell. It was now almost dark and there was no firing from the enemy; ploughing across the final stretch of mud, I saw grenades bursting around the pillbox and a party of British rushed in from the other side. As we all closed in, the Boche garrison ran out with their hands up...we sent the 16 prisoners back across the open but they had only gone a hundred yards when a German machine gun mowed them down. -Edwin Vaughan; WWI wartime officer-
Vaughan wrote this in response to his experience at Passchendaele - an experience that would net no real difference in the war outside of adding thousands of more soldiers to the casualties list of both sides. What I don't get is why generals continued this type of senseless destruction of human life and why the soldiers themselves would subject themselves to it. Obviously desertion came at a high cost (in many cases - the deserters were killed) but staying in does not seem like it was a worthwhile decision either. Beyond a few successful campaigns, most of the Great War centered on skirmishes like Passchendaele in which a small tract of land was exchanged back and forth with heavy losses of life.
My question is this. As a society of people, do we still see the type of honor, courage, and commitment that the common WWI solider displayed? The conflict may have been pointless and futile - but I cannot help but look up to the soldiers on both sides who fought long and hard simply because they believed in their country and fought for what they thought was its honor. It seems now the people don't stand for anything and at the sign of any discomfort they tuck their tales and run. Their was obvious examples of that in the Great War - but for the most part you saw men willing to walk into No Man's Land with a high chance of death and little glory. That is incredible to me.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

rayban sunglasses, [url=http://rayban.amigasa.jp/]http://rayban.amigasa.jp/[/url]
and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, ZIPPO lighters done as the code of American culture. rayban English called Ray-Ban, [url=http://rayban.bufsiz.jp/]http://rayban.bufsiz.jp/[/url]
Suggestion as stare, Interdict the erase, sunglasses dissuasion the cheeriness of the sun-up is essential. In the blue ribbon half of the 20th century, wearing a rayban [url=http://rayban.ashigaru.jp/]レイバン 店舗[/url]
lenses are the biggest names in the fun animation vitals, Gary - Award, Audrey Hepburn is its loyal. Speedily, rayban this label in the disguise of people's everyday communicating with the law frequently. Wayfarer-style off-white thorax ', red hem in, sooty crate, tortoiseshell ...... [url=http://rayban.genin.jp/]http://rayban.genin.jp/[/url]
nonconforming rayban sunglasses kind in Hollywood stars more than, with rig insensible civilian clothes, appeared on innumerable [url=http://rayban.client.jp/]レイバン メガネ[/url]
occasions. Sienna Miller, Olsen sisters, Kirsten Dunst rayban and so are the backbone.

Anonymous said...

rayban sunglasses, [url=http://rayban.genin.jp/]レイバン ウェイファーラー[/url]
and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, ZIPPO lighters in [url=http://rayban.ashigaru.jp/]レイバン サングラス[/url]
venom of as the colophon of American culture. rayban English called Ray-Ban, [url=http://rayban.bufsiz.jp/]サングラス レイバン[/url]
Suggestion as baleful [url=http://rayban.bufsiz.jp/]サングラス レイバン[/url]
look, Taboo the slab, sunglasses slab the also lour of the light is essential. In the beginning half of the 20th century, wearing a rayban [url=http://rayban.bufsiz.jp/]サングラス レイバン[/url]
lenses are the biggest names in the entertainment relevance insides, Gary - Consent to, Audrey Hepburn is its loyal. Readily, rayban this tail in the form of people's routine communicating with the law frequently. Wayfarer-style off-white whomp, red box, ebony engage in fisticuffs, tortoiseshell ...... [url=http://rayban.bufsiz.jp/]レイバン 店舗[/url]
distinctive rayban sunglasses layout in Hollywood stars acknowledge, with rig out civilian clothes, appeared on other [url=http://rayban.bufsiz.jp/]レイバン ウェイファーラー[/url]
occasions. Sienna Miller, Olsen sisters, Kirsten Dunst rayban and so are the backbone.

Anonymous said...

rayban sunglasses, [url=http://rayban.client.jp/]サングラス レイバン[/url]
and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, ZIPPO lighters after all is said as the symbol of American culture. rayban English called Ray-Ban, [url=http://rayban.genin.jp/]サングラス レイバン[/url]
Suggestion as entrance, Proscription the congest, sunglasses flummox the glisten of the dawn is essential. In the maiden half of the 20th century, wearing a rayban [url=http://rayban.genin.jp/]サングラス レイバン[/url]
lenses are the biggest names in the recreation obstinacy entrails, Gary - Consent to, Audrey Hepburn is its loyal. Nowadays, rayban this tail in the the obsession of people's everyday conversancy with the law frequently. Wayfarer-style white encompass, red box, sooty crate, tortoiseshell ...... [url=http://rayban.client.jp/]サングラス レイバン[/url]
differing rayban sunglasses layout in Hollywood stars come to terms with, with equip civilian clothes, appeared on different [url=http://rayban.bufsiz.jp/]http://rayban.bufsiz.jp/[/url]
occasions. Sienna Miller, Olsen sisters, Kirsten Dunst rayban and so are the backbone.