11/11/2014

The War to End All Wars

When it started one hundred years ago, no one called it World War One.  They didn't know that as horrible as it was, an even worse round of bloodshed lurked just around the corner.  Eventually it came to be known as the Great War, and when it ended in 1918, on the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th days of the 11th month of the year, they thought lasting peace was at hand.  Though the peace proved fleeting, the cost was high.  This year to mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the war, England offered a unique tribute to the more than 800,000 members of the British Empire who perished in the conflict--one ceramic poppy for each man who fell in the war spread out around the Tower of London.  It is truly a stunning sight.





In Flanders Fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses row on row, 
That mark our place; and in the sky 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the Dead. Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe: 
To you from failing hands we throw 
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
 If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
In Flanders fields. 

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) 
Canadian Army


It is only fitting on this day that we pause to honor those who were willing to place their own lives at risk to stand between their loved homes and the war's desolation.  I would like to say a special thanks to my father, Sgt. James Alvin Byers of the 45th Infantry for his service to our nation during the Korean War.  To all who have served, and to all those who are serving, my deepest gratitude.  

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