Remembering the dead of two world wars, and all the other wars.

Thank you so much for this Yolly. I’m remembering a story my mother’s eldest brother Martin told her about his experience in France during WW1. He drove ammunition trucks to the front lines as a 19 year old, one of the nicest, sweetest guys my mother knew. He returned home at 21 an emotional basket case and a nearly life long alcoholic. He had never shared his story with anyone until, at age 66 he finally quit drinking and told my mother what he’d gone through. Telling me the story brought tears to her eyes, and brings them to mine as i type this. Will we learn? I hope so Yolly, before we destroy ourselves with our stupidity and arrogance.

Well, This Is What I Think


Hating war – arguing for a pacifist position, even one that is not utterly purely pacifist – does not mean we cannot weep for and celebrate those who fight wars on our behalf.

With the tragically costly conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Remembrance Sunday – just like Anzac Day in Australia and Memorial Day in the USA – has assumed a new significance, and a new enthusiasm from the young.

From left to right: Distinguished Service Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-18, Victory Medal 1914-18, Medal for Military Valour, Mercantile Marine War Medal 1914-1918, From left to right: Distinguished Service Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-18, Victory Medal 1914-18, Medal for Military Valour, Mercantile Marine War Medal 1914-1918,

For ourselves, remembering a father who died at 46 worn out by terrifying six years of naval service, a cousin who endured tropical diseases for his entire life after incarceration in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp, a Grandfather who served in the trenches in World War 1 and another Grandfather who received the DSC for trawling…

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About gwpj

Originally from Seattle, I now live in Sapporo, Japan, where I write, explore this city, read widely, and ask questions about things that i see as important. I'm also an author, with three novels published ("The Old Man and The Monkey", "Grandfather and The Raven", and "Bear: a story about a boy and his unusual dog"). For more information about my writing, drop by my website, at
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3 Responses to Remembering the dead of two world wars, and all the other wars.

  1. Sha'Tara says:

    I never “celebrate” remembrance day, though my family if from France and I was born there. My father fought “two” wars in WWII. In the first wave of the German invasion, after which taken prisoner of war, deported to a German camp and used as slave labour, released, or escaped – the story is vague, he joined the underground and fought on French soil until the defeat of the Nazis. He taught me to hate war and despise all military posturing. Remembrance day is posturing. Veterans are treated like dirt; their problems ignored or swept under the rug. I was taught never to get into that position. Refuse to join up, refuse to “serve” even if it means the firing squad: that’s a better choice; war makes people way worse than animals, he’d say, and there is never a good reason to fight them. It’s always the bankers and the plutocrats who benefit from the wars and it’s always the innocents that are killed and suffer the most. Remembrance day is a farce, George; an emotional trip; a trick of the system to make potential murderers feel good about themselves. And yes, all those who take up arms admit, by their choices and acts that they have premeditated murder on their minds. They have enough intelligence to know it’s never about freedom. Freedom does not come from killing and destroying and no one has ever won a war – not if the concept is properly understood and reasoned. All I would be able to “remember” in a Remembrance Day parade or whatever, is man’s inhumanity to man. But I don’t need to be reminded of that, it’s a daily occurrence, and it’s everywhere. Except, of course, for those who choose not to see it.

    • gwpj says:

      Well said Sha’Tara. I share those feelings, yet I do remember those who have fallen in battle, the noise and terror of it, the loss of one’s humanity and the loss of loved ones. War ought never to be celebrated, which, on veterans day in the US it all to frequently is. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

      • Sha'Tara says:

        IMO George, war ought never be entered into, not even as a last resort. Parents, teachers, preachers, and all leaders, even popular entertainers should all be teaching the young the ultimate fallacy of fighting to win a war and the horror of all kind of bloodshed. That should be standard fare for all, the ultimate goal of the United Nations above all else: to deal with the nub of the problem before this world becomes irrevocably committed to resource wars and dies a lingering, pointless death. People have to learn the real courage of never preparing for war because once you prepare, war is inevitable. This time of year always reminds me of the Pete Seeger folk song, “Where have all the flowers gone?” with it’s repetitive eternal rhetorical question: “When will they ever learn… when will they ever learn?” I’m also reminded of that other rather somber song, “Who will answer?” by Ed Ames. I think that man has, for much too long, worshipped and waited for some super-hero or god to answer, a Superman, a Jesus, even a Hancock; to deal with the tough question of global interaction when it’s always been up to man, and no one, nobody else, to come up with the answers. If this time was a test of sentience I think that earth humans, considering all the resources at their disposal and the teachings they have received (I just can’t believe they invented the golden rule!) would at this point in time be in critical fail condition.

        “Space ship Earth” may ditch it’s current passengers and hire a better crew in the near future. … or… Perhaps mankind is at an evolutionary level where it seems nothing will ever be learned yet nature or life, may pull the species past this dangerously self-destructive point into a more humanistic-compassionate-empathetic state in some possible future where the planet and some of its sentient life survives, gets another chance? That’s where I’m looking when I scan the possible future for this world and I can see that possibility quite clearly, but not without a traumatic interregnum of terror between the fall of (generic, small “c”) capitalism (or call it personal selfishness and self-preservation) and the awakening of individual (self) empowerment based on compassionate empathy. My Teachers emphasized this point to me: A true human never kills deliberately, but is always ready to give her/his life for another should the need arise. A true human does not fear death but lives in compassionate detachment and acts accordingly. A part of that is expressed in the Bhagavad-Gita thus: ” You are only entitled to the action, never to its fruits. Do not let the fruits of action be your motive, but do not attach yourself to nonaction.” The point is brought home thus: “When one’s mind dwells on the objects of Senses, fondness for them grows on him, from fondness comes desire, from desire anger. Anger leads to bewilderment, bewilderment to loss of memory of true Self, and by that intelligence is destroyed, and with the destruction of intelligence he perishes.”

        Is the current hypnotic trance imposed by technology over most of the earth the destruction of man’s intelligence? Is technology man’s poisoned chalice… and should he be handing it back to the server or is that too late?

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