In Flanders Fields
November 11, 2001 12:51 AM   Subscribe

In Flanders Fields - by John McCrae

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

MetaFilter readers wherever you are, please take a moment of silence to honour those who gave their lives so that we could live ours.
posted by PWA_BadBoy (74 comments total)
Who are you referring to? Who are these people who specifically gave their lives for us?

You know, normally I do not post like this, but this is an entirely unjustified post. Have you ever read any Keats? Something tells me Ode To Melancholy is a little more applicable than this.

This is a front page post that is broken (that extra 'q' kills it), 'extra-long,' and something that has been talked about before. It goes against every guideline and is inapplicable even read at a hyper-content-free post.
posted by j.edwards at 1:10 AM on November 11, 2001

In 'filter's fields, some posts really blow
Even by weekend's beer-softened glow
posted by Optamystic at 1:15 AM on November 11, 2001

The poem and moment of silence are actually for this very thread, which surely is not long of this earth.

Tis a sad, sad, thing.
posted by signal at 1:20 AM on November 11, 2001

Granted the post lacks luster, it takes up a lot of space, and it doesn't belong here. But come on guys, it is veteran's day, AND the two month aniversary of WTC. Any slack? I guess not. Cynics rule!
posted by geoffrey at 1:25 AM on November 11, 2001

PWA, Remembrance Day is a Canada-only holiday -- they have no idea what you are talking about or why you'd post that poem (I don't think any Americans know it).
posted by sylloge at 1:31 AM on November 11, 2001

What's that about poppies and blow? I think there was something in there about getting high.

So you went to Belgium and got wasted and felt like you were dead? (like that Beatles song)
posted by QrysDonnell at 1:36 AM on November 11, 2001

PWA, Remembrance Day is a Canada-only holiday -- they have no idea what you are talking about or why you'd post that poem (I don't think any Americans know it).

Er, I don't exactly want to start a country fight here, but I'd just like to remind the people here that the Internet, is , believe it or not, a WORLD service. Which means that Americans are'nt the only one's around.

So next time, please look out of your scope. It's quite educative.
posted by arnab at 1:56 AM on November 11, 2001

Er, I don't exactly want to start a country fight here

Wise choice, Maple leaf-boy. ;-)
posted by Optamystic at 2:00 AM on November 11, 2001

Absolutely astonishing.

Someone makes a post about Remembrance Day - which is a very big thing back in the UK, and also I believe throughout the Commonwealth - and some of the Americans around here instantly regard it as some sort of personal affront or a joke.

In short, the idea is to remember those who gave their lives in past wars, and those who may have to give theirs in the future. At a basic level it raises money for ex-servicemen and women, at a slightly more rarified level the intention is to remind everyone that wars have consequences - and those consequences frequently come home in body bags.

So don't take those in the armed services for granted.

Good grief, I would have thought after the events of the last two months that even the hardest cynic would have taken this seriously ...
posted by thatwhichfalls at 2:06 AM on November 11, 2001

In Canada, Australia, the UK, and many many other places, November 11th is Remembrance Day; a day to honour "the sacrifice of those men and women who have died or suffered in wars and conflicts and all those who have served during the past 100 years." It is commemorated by the wearing of a poppy, memorial services (including a moment of silence at 11am), and, often, a reading of the above poem by McCrae.

With that said, can I ask (beg?) for a shift in the tone of this thread? While some of what was said above was insensitive, whether Matt scraps this thread or not (I don't feel he should), it seems reasonable to hope for a modicum of respect for the fallen, now that the context is clear.

posted by Marquis at 2:16 AM on November 11, 2001

sylloge, you'd prefer it if metafilter was for americans only?

the tone of this thread has me happy to oblige...
posted by sawks at 2:23 AM on November 11, 2001

Okay, I'll cop to being ignorant of the holiday. Still a pretty pointless post, though.
posted by Optamystic at 2:31 AM on November 11, 2001

wow, the posts from the U.S. in this thread really make me disgusted (I live here in the U.S.).

I have a suggestion: shut your hole, go get some flowers or something, and go to the nearest war cemetery or monument. Put the flowers where they belong and think about why all the dead people there died the way they did. Think about the ways your life would be different today if they didn't.
posted by azazello at 2:35 AM on November 11, 2001

As someone pointed out, not only is it Remembrance Day throughout the Commonwealth, it is Veteran's Day in the U.S. - also a day set aside to remember the service and sacrifice of those who worked to secure liberty.

This post is only pointless if you're so self-involved you have no ability to look beyond your own navel to realise that there are/were people whose very lives were lost in order to give you the chance to sit here and gripe about the post. We could all be living in a bleak, Afghanistan-like totalitarian state. Take off the blinders.
posted by Dreama at 2:39 AM on November 11, 2001


your utter lack of humility and complete disrespect for the sacrifices made by those who died to preserve your freedoms is truly sickening.

maybe the post could have been written in a more suitable way, but i assure you, it is not pointless.
posted by bwg at 2:39 AM on November 11, 2001

PWA_BadBoy's intentions are sincere. This is the day to remember our honored dead. I don't care what country you're from. It was insensitive and incorrigible of others to attack PWA_BadBoy for wishing to remind and educate those who do not know about Veteran's Day/Rememberance Day.


1) email the person privately and politely, explaining how the post in question is improper and kindly ask him not to do it again.
2) email Matt Haughey privately and politely, explain the situation and ask him kindly to remove the thread, or acknowledge that you respect his judgement in the matter.
3) do not publically post to the thread if you personally abhor it, as this only encourages the thread.

I tell you when others behave incorrigibly to postlinks, it only feeds the fire. However if someone intelligently and politely brings the faux pas to one's attention privately and politely, it carries much more weight and makes a much more positive impression.

Respect others as you would have them respect you. There's no excuse for treating one another in this manner. People have been attacking one another for poor post link etiquette practically since MeFi began, and this does NOT stop the behavior. It only dirties up MeFi.

And ESPECIALLY today, of all days, please respect one another. Please don't fight today.

posted by ZachsMind at 2:42 AM on November 11, 2001

It's true it is remembrance day here in Australia and in in many other countries in the world. No country is formally excluded in taking part, so you can take part in this day wherever you come from, assuming you know about it, of course.

People at school, at work, and at home today, at 11.00am on the 11th day of the 11th month, acknowledge the lives lost in wars spanning a century by taking a moment to reflect, a moment's silence. This time is not intended to glorify war in any way whatsoever, quite the opposite, it is a sobering time, a time to remember those people who fought and suffered the consequences of war.

We have soldiers in the field in Afghanistan at the moment, as I know have many countries who mark Remembrance day. So there is a particular poignancy attached to Remembrance day.

The beauty is the poppy and the poppy is red, the color of blood. It is said that the poppies grew out of the blood of the fallen, when the guns stopped, from death came beauty (the end of war)

That's where the symbol of the poppy arises from, hence the poem.
posted by lucien at 3:08 AM on November 11, 2001

This is the day to remember our honored dead. I don't care what country you're from.

It's not for people not from US/commonwealth. There is a world outside of the english speaking one you know.
posted by signal at 3:09 AM on November 11, 2001

As a Vietnam Vet, I am going to go to services at the local memorial that honors World Wars II dead, swing by the Vietnam War monument for a few moments of quiet reflection, go put some flowers on my father's and uncles' graves (all WWII vets), and spend the rest of my day with my family.

My personal thanks to PWA_BadBoy for taking the time to make the post.
posted by MAYORBOB at 3:13 AM on November 11, 2001

There is a world outside of the english speaking one you know.

The world is a big place -- that does not mean that every MeFi post has to have global relevance. Where was all of this "inappropriate to the front page" claptrap in the Guy Fawkes thread? Or the numerous Halloween threads? Those holidays are surely not global in scope, so those threads must've been pointless and should never have appeared on the front page. I think Danelope might have been on the mark in another thread when he said "MetaFilter, where our standards are so high, they're double!"
posted by Dreama at 3:27 AM on November 11, 2001

Fine post, PWA_BadBoy, even though you screwed up the link.

You people who were offended that he didn't instead post the latest news about your favorite cartoons should go read some history. 11/11/1918 was a great day, even in America, and the poem is famous among people who know even a little poetry.
posted by pracowity at 3:43 AM on November 11, 2001

posted by feelinglistless at 3:46 AM on November 11, 2001

Must be Sunday, what with all the righteousness on display here. My comments were in reference to the post (broken link, no context for the poem) and not meant to disparage anyone's honored dead. I thought someone was pulling another "Moment of silence for the recently/soon-to-be deceased." And I stand by my "pointless" comment in that regard.
posted by Optamystic at 4:32 AM on November 11, 2001

I celebrated this day of rememberance by buying a lady a drink. She is a friend who served in the armed forces during the Gulf War, and there is a strong possibility she will be called upon again in the war we are now waging. I do not want to see her go, because I fear she will not return. I bought her a drink of her choice. Then I bought her dinner. She believes our cause is just and I will not question her judgement. She's been in the line of fire so that people like me can remain protected and safe. I recommend buying a hero a drink this day. It's the least we can do.

Besides, she looks adorable in a black skirt. =) Ladies from the air force have amazing minds, and great legs.

signal: "There is a world outside of the english speaking one you know."

Oh please. You speak as if I do not see that world. I see it better than you know.

This day. I pray and remember the honored dead from my shores who directly affected my freedom. The ones who put themselves in harm's way so that I could sit here and type out these words without fear of reprisal, and live my days with at least an illusion of freedom. However, I never forget that I live in a large, gilded cage.

I pray the day of true freedom will come, when we no longer feel the need to put bars on our windows or locks on our doors. I pray for the day when all terrorism, foreign and domestic, is seen as an act of futility in every living soul. I pray for fallen policemen, firemen, and anyone who put themselves between innocents and a threat of any kind. They too are soldiers. The thin blue line fights its own war against domestic individuals who terrorize others, and those soldiers against crime should not be dismissed from this day of rememberance. The fighters of fire too wage war against an enemy more powerful than bacteria or viruses. Fire is an enemy more faceless than cowards in caves, and more ruthless, and more ever-present. Fire is another front against humanity until tamed, as are natural disasters, and those who stand in harm's way against such dangers should not be dismissed from this day of rememberance.

This day. I pray and remember the honored dead of other free countries throughout this planet. Past. Present. Future. Every soul who stood between innocents and a bullet or a blade. The souls of those who stood for freedom of tyrany, regardless of national boundary. Like the Internet, my prayers this day know no boundaries, just as my God knows no such boundaries, and is not limited to one land mass or another.

This day. I pray for every man or woman who stood for what they believe in. Throughout the thousands of years of history. Even when they fought for things I do not believe in. Even if they fought for things which today no longer exist. The battles of Greece and Rome and even Ancient China helped to get us where we are today. The battles of duty. The battles of trading one tyrany for another. The battles of foolhardiness. The battles for land. The battles for pride. The blood shed for baubles. The blood shed for faltering kings no longer remembered. The lives lost to ignorance. The lives lost to bitterness, hatred, and the loss of freedoms.

I am a pacifist. I pray for every drop of humanity's blood throughout recorded history and every soul who owned that blood. Most importantly. I pray for a day when humanity learns that it was never, is never, and never shall be again necessary for a drop of blood to be spilled to preserve freedom and love for one's fellow man. So long as one human being believes violence against another soul on this Earth is a viable option, that day will not come.

I pray that my children, or my grand children, or my great grandchildren will see that day. I pray that we will forever remember the indescribable and unfathomable cost of that day, and I pray that it will have been worth it. The cost of true freedom has been so great, and I fear what humanity has paid thus far for true freedom from our own fear and greed, has been but a down payment compared to the cost we have yet to endure.

I pray that day will come.

You may say I am a dreamer. I am not the only one.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:34 AM on November 11, 2001

(MeTa tangent) Although I've enjoyed the eloquent comments in this thread I completely agree with Optamystic on this one. As a former newspaper editor, I know what a slippery slope these "on this day" pieces can be. Once you start, they become a lazy, boring and, worst of all, 100% predictable way of posting. Editors use them as cheap filler material when there's nothing new to report. For newspapermen, they're a joke. It's sausage-making. The least you can do is dress it up with some fresh quotes, updates and all the other tricks of the trade.

Here on MetaFilter if one does want to remember an important day then I think a new link and a new slant to accompany a comemmorative post would definitely be in order. Just my opinion, of course.

Today, for instance, is also Independence Day in Angola, Armistice Day in Belgium, France and some other French-speaking countries , the King's Birthday in Bhutan, Cartagena Day in Colombia, Republic Day in the Maldives, Independence Day in Zimbabwe, Concordia Day in St Maarten, Admission Day in Washington, Repentance Day in Germany, the Lord Mayor's Day in England and God knows what else. Not to mention all the famous birthdays, deathdays, centenaries, et caetera, overwhelmingly listed, for instance, in websites such as by Scope Systems.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:05 AM on November 11, 2001

From yesterday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer, an excerpt from Bill Virgin's column, The Message the Poppies Bear: "...Americans are still dealing with the long legacy of nation-wrenching debates about Vietnam and American military power. The lingering resentments on both sides have diluted displays of national unity, patriotism or appreciation for military service and sacrifice. Until now. The times call for patriotic rallying, but they also call for solemn reflection that freedom matters but it is not permanent, and history has often required horrific sacrifices to maintain it."
posted by Carol Anne at 5:18 AM on November 11, 2001

I got up, I read the post, I read the comments, I sighed, I wished I had stayed in bed.
posted by at 6:06 AM on November 11, 2001

Ya, tell yourself whatever you need to make it seem OK.
posted by fleener at 6:47 AM on November 11, 2001

Ummm, yeah. It's a holiday in just about every country that 'participated' in WWI, well, on the winning side at least. All of these holidays sprung from the cessation of hostilities on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

It also celebrates the date in which the unknown soldiers were entombed in Westminster Abbey, the Arche de Triomphe and Arlington National Cemetary.

Not a day to squabble.
posted by m@ at 7:36 AM on November 11, 2001

sylloge, you'd prefer it if metafilter was for americans only?

What? That would be a strange thing for a Canadian to want.
posted by rodii at 7:36 AM on November 11, 2001

Flanders Field, France, 1919
posted by realjanetkagan at 7:39 AM on November 11, 2001

PWABadBoy, thank you.... the poem is still evocative, after all this time... And for those pop culture mavens, the poppy as a symbol of remembrance shows up in the movie "Tommy," worn by some of the charachters, and appearing on the cross used in the movie.
posted by datawrangler at 7:48 AM on November 11, 2001

thanks MAYORBOB for your service. and to all MeFi's whom have held rifle for their perspective countries freedom. I think this post may be the exception to the linkless post. (your pushing it bucko;)
posted by clavdivs at 8:12 AM on November 11, 2001

and to all MeFi's whom have held rifle for their perspective countries freedom

I wonder if we have any readers from Afghanistan?

Anyway, I think MiguelCardoso has a point...
posted by geir at 8:43 AM on November 11, 2001

"I wonder if we have any readers from Afghanistan?" stunning, just devasting to the morale. man, you rule....whats his point?
posted by clavdivs at 8:46 AM on November 11, 2001

go to the nearest war cemetery or monument. Put the flowers where they belong

Flowers are useless to dead people. Give them to a vet, or someone currently active in the armed services. Show appreciation and gratitude, not self-indulgence.

My vote: the post was appropriate and in keeping with the kind of posts we've seen here before. It was too long. One stanza and the rest inside would have been better.
posted by rushmc at 8:51 AM on November 11, 2001

Google UK make special arrangements...the main title links to a search for the Poppy Appeal ...
posted by feelinglistless at 8:54 AM on November 11, 2001

"Flowers are useless to dead people" now your trolling. In Micronesian countries, flowers signify a happy transcendence into the netherworld."Give them to a vet " sorry, i just get images of hippies sticking daisies into rifle barrels.
posted by clavdivs at 9:24 AM on November 11, 2001

Whoa, Nelly..

Let's not all get crazy and nationalistic about this; I don't see this as an "America writes the rules" thing at all. The post was done with a good heart, and with great intentions... but, as I myself have found on occasion, great intentions here on Metafilter Never exempts the basic rules. I can't argue with that, even though I sometimes disagree - sometimes very strongly - it's the bulwark against that 'slippery slope' that's regrettable, but neccessary until a better set of rules roll around.

That being said, there are recent examples where 'Moment of silence' posts were made and discussed... and that was a day after the WTC. Strangely, that too was considered bad form, if barely acceptable.

So, in short, it's not about countries, it's about the rules, folks. Lets not fray each other over technical disagreements: maybe its time for some kind of Metatalk ongoing discussion to understand and iron out the anomalies (oooh..I got to use a Star Trek word!) in the posting rules.
posted by Perigee at 9:27 AM on November 11, 2001

posted by Outlawyr at 9:29 AM on November 11, 2001

What's this business of taking offense when people disagree with your point of view and shaming them to justified your precious hurt feelings? If I don't have enough conviction in what I believe in, like memorials should be a private and voluntary act, insensitive remarks will be made and ignored—for examples—I would not make them public.
posted by slipperytoast at 10:04 AM on November 11, 2001

Um, you know, instead of posting a three-stanza poem, then making some remark about recognizing the dead, all this "controversy" could have been avoided if it had been stated, clearly and up-front, that this was in regards to Rememberance Day. For us poor ignorant Americans who don't celebrate it, a little context would have been appropriate and saved you all a lot of huffing and puffing.

But then again, this has been very instructive, because I've never seen so much self-righteousness in one place.
posted by solistrato at 10:05 AM on November 11, 2001

I'm trolling. Flame on, as Johnny Blaze would say.

I've never been so ashamed to be American. The comments being made here on a day when we should be respecting the dead and thankful for the freedom those people bought for us are sickening. While I respect the freedom of speech for those comments, I wish some people could get out of their box. Or, at the very least, read the poem, be confused, and blow it off without feeling the need to ridicule the poster for a "pointless" post. Yes, the link was broken. That's not the point. The point is that PWA was trying to bring to our attention that it is a day of rememberance. Any person who has ever read For Better Or For Worse knows what the poppy is for.

Step outside your box, or at least try to respect other people's culture without stomping all over it.

PWA, thank you for reminding me of the price of freedom. And for exposing so many self-righteous trolls on MeFi.
posted by KoPi_42 at 10:15 AM on November 11, 2001

i feel like i'm in church :)
posted by kliuless at 10:27 AM on November 11, 2001

Don't know the poem, the link didn't give any context to what the hell it was about. Yet you guys are jumping all over everyone? Come on.
posted by owillis at 10:32 AM on November 11, 2001

Well, you know it now. And it might be worth questioning why you didn't know it or its significance before, given that the Great War claimed 116,000 American lives. As Bill Virgin's column suggests, "Veterans' Day" has been diluted of its significance, submerged in the rush to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not elsewhere.
posted by holgate at 10:48 AM on November 11, 2001

Actually, Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four (aka "The Human Torch") said "Flame On!" Johnny Blaze (aka "Ghost Rider") went around with his skull-head on fire all the time.

Marvel Comics trivia aside, I too concur that the post could have been framed in a better fashion.
posted by poseur at 10:50 AM on November 11, 2001

"In Flanders Fields" and John McRae for those unfamiliar with Remembrance Day.
posted by Carol Anne at 11:04 AM on November 11, 2001

If the poem is not for you, move on to the next post, don't clog this one up with your bitching. Not that complicated.

I appreciate the poem, one of the great silent screams of western literature.
posted by Ty Webb at 11:09 AM on November 11, 2001

If the bitching is not for you, move on to the next post, don't clog this one up with your poems. Not that complicated.
posted by signal at 11:49 AM on November 11, 2001

Hi everyone,

I just decided to check in on the thread, and didn't realize the kind of trouble I've kicked up.

First a little clarification. I didn't futz up the link. It is in fact the right link that I was reading last night, but it appears the author of the page has moved the page within the last 24 hours. You can now read the background for the poem here.

Frankly, I'm a little bit appalled at some of the inconsiderateness of some of the people here on MeFi. I've been taught since elementary school of the importance of the war veterans (every year we have ceremonies to remind us) and those that have given their lives to protect our freedom. It appears that many of you readers have taken this for granted. It saddens me that so many of you would just go and ridicule this post because you don't like the poem or because you thought the post was too long. YES, I know the post is rather long. I KNOW the rules of MeFi. I've been here longer than most of you. But I thought it was appropriate, and that's why I posted the whole poem.

The poem is in reference to anyone who has fought in a war and lost their lives. Most are young people who gave their lives for "freedom", maybe not even understanding exactly why they're fighting. Against other soldiers who also didn't understand why they were fighting. Yet they went out there and died fighting. For a freedom that we take for granted today. For a freedom that their leaders told them that they must fight for. And so they did.

I urge you please to just drop the sarcasm and just take a minute to reflect on how your life may be different had these people not fought for you. As Don Cherry said on Hockey Night in Canada, if it weren't for these people, we might be eating sauerkraut and speaking German. Heck, I wouldn't even be around, being the ethnic minority that I am.

Just think about it. Thanks.

posted by PWA_BadBoy at 12:15 PM on November 11, 2001

One of the most asked questions is: why poppies? The answer is simple: poppies only flower when everything else in the neighbourhood is dead. Their seeds can lie on the ground for years and years, and only when there are no more competing flowers or shrubs in the vicinity (for instance when someone firmly roots up the ground), these seeds will sprout.

There was enough rooted up soil on the battlefield of the Western Front; in fact the whole front consisted of churned up soil. So in May 1915, when McCrae wrote his poem, around him poppies blossomed like no one had ever seen before.

posted by PWA_BadBoy at 12:19 PM on November 11, 2001

*tiggletaggletiger shuts the fuck up and takes a moment to remember*

posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 12:43 PM on November 11, 2001

Thanks for posting the poem PWA_Badboy.

The debate it sparked is another thing. I found the attitude taken by some correspondants astounding. Feel free to wallow in your own ignorance guys, but not in public and not on Remembrance Sunday.

For what it's worth, this article worth a read:

posted by the cuban at 12:45 PM on November 11, 2001

Feel free to take any further bitching here.
posted by Marquis at 12:52 PM on November 11, 2001

posted by the cuban at 12:53 PM on November 11, 2001

Thanks cuban. That link said it better than I ever could have. Which is why I'm in computer science and not in journalism.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 1:02 PM on November 11, 2001

Hey, am I the only Brit who thinks the Americans might have a point? This whole organised remembering thing always makes me feel uneasy.

WWI (particularly associated with today because of the 11 thing) really needs a Hitler to crush the living bajesus out of anyone who raises questions about the morality of organised killing. Without him, I suspect Owen is more appropriate than McCrae:

What passing-bells for those who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them from prayers or bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,-
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

But maybe it's fitting that moral indignation, which pushed so many men off to their deaths, should come and fart its filthy stench over MetaFilter for a while.
posted by andrew cooke at 1:21 PM on November 11, 2001

This whole organised remembering thing always makes me feel uneasy.

So if it's not organised, how else do you expect people to "remember"? It's not exactly something we think about every day of our lives. Having a day once each year seems appropriate to me.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 1:28 PM on November 11, 2001

Dammit, Andrew, you beat me to it. Anyway, here's another from Owen.
posted by gamera at 1:35 PM on November 11, 2001

PWA_BadBoy: I expect people to remember as they see fit. I don't see any need to force people to remember if they don't care (what kind of remembering is that going to be?) and, personally, I've been thinking rather a lot recently about death and war. I suspect most people have.
posted by andrew cooke at 1:43 PM on November 11, 2001

So andrew, what exactly does it take for you to start thinking about death and war? If it takes an actual war going on at the present time, then it's already too late. The idea and goal of rememberance is that we can learn from the mistakes of the past. What good is it to remember by starting another war?

There's no forcing people to remember. They can go about doing whatever they want on November 11th. But it will reminds us, even if there isn't a war going on. Unfortunately, there still is war around us.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 1:47 PM on November 11, 2001

You missed the last lines, Andrew, the lines about real remembrance:

The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

I can cope without the ceremonials at the Cenotaph; but the weekend I cycled through the villages around Oxford, each with its small, well-tended memorial to an eviscerated generation, gave me enough pause to remember the cost of that particular quarrel among the grandchildren of Queen Victoria.
posted by holgate at 1:53 PM on November 11, 2001

Er, I have a feeling that the English branch of the grandchildren had little to do with it. The separation of the monarch from effective politics was much earlier than 1918 (in fact sometime after 1837). This was not a dynastic squabble, but a political mess.

If you wish to blame anybody then you can blame the military-industrial complex in Germany, the politicians in the UK and France and anybody (possibly most of the population) who thought that being a 'great' nation was a good thing and worth dying for.
posted by nedrichards at 2:18 PM on November 11, 2001

Despite my cynicism, I'm pretty maudlin sometimes. I've even gotten teary watching commercials. With political events, it hasn't happened since Bobby Kennedy was shot. I still get choked up talking about it to younger people even now. I'd never heard of Remembrance Day but this got me teary today.
posted by y2karl at 2:21 PM on November 11, 2001

Wayne Gretzky for prime minister!

I'm sorry. Seriously, the Stanley Cup finals should be a continental holiday. Realy.
posted by adampsyche at 5:45 PM on November 11, 2001

> ... but I'd just like to remind the people here that the Internet, is , believe it or not, a WORLD service. Which means that Americans are'nt the only one's around.

So next time, please look out of your scope. It's quite educative.

So there are sarcastic cranks in India too?

sylloge, you'd prefer it if metafilter was for americans only?

Also Australia!?

No, I wouldn't prefer that. I was trying to explain to a fellow Canadian why the people commenting in the thread were being such assholes.

I actually didn't know that Remembrance Day was celebrated throughout the Commonwealth though. Good on you.
posted by sylloge at 6:26 PM on November 11, 2001

I got a picture of my Grandfather today. I had never seen a clear picture of him before. He was shot by a German sniper with about a week or two left in the war.

Remembrance Day is a good day.
posted by websavvy at 8:11 PM on November 11, 2001

There is a world outside of the english speaking one you know.

Of course there is - which is why there were Rememberance day ceremonies in places such as Austria, Malaysia and Malta.

(thanks Marquis for the Australian Dept. of Veteran Affairs link)
posted by eoz at 1:01 AM on November 12, 2001

Now young Willie McBride I can't help but wonder why
Do all those who lie here know why they died.
And did they believe when they answered the cause
Did they really believe that this war would end wars.
Well the sorrows, the suffering, the glory, the pain
The killing and dying was all done in vain.
For young Willie McBride it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.

It's always, as someone from the UK, struck me as odd that so few countries outside the commonwealth recognise this day in the way we do. Working at a university I see more foreign nationals on a daily basis than the average bloke from this town and they're always embarrassed at having to ask why we all wear poppies. I've seen a German girl burst into tears when she didn't know. Not that anyone has a go at them for not knowing, they're just embarrassed.
posted by vbfg at 4:04 AM on November 12, 2001

Amzi R. McClain, Jr. T/Sgt., Batt A, 721st F/A Bttn, 66th Inf. Div, United States Army. Entered service from Flanders, NJ. 3/14/20 - 7/24/99.

Rest in peace, Dad. I love you.
posted by alumshubby at 6:41 AM on November 12, 2001

Sorry, but veterans (of which I am one) were fools for getting involved with the military.

If some of these "veterans" had stood up and said NO to violence (instead of cowardly going along with the status quo), we wouldn't still live in a world filled with violence.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:46 AM on November 12, 2001

> If some of these "veterans" had stood up and said NO to violence (instead of cowardly going along with the status quo), we wouldn't still live in a world filled with violence.

Some of them did (Vietnam obviously, but also COs in every war this century) and yet we still live in a world filled with violence. Hmmm.
posted by sylloge at 5:25 PM on November 12, 2001

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