On Veteran’s Day

This is the year we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. There is a beautiful and moving installation of poppies at the Tower of London, especially to honor the British and colonial deaths in that war.

Poppy panorama by Phil Guest via Flikr

But more generally let me say: there are not words enough to honor our veterans, nor praise great enough to mitigate their sacrifices. We grieve for those who were lost in war, we think of those who survive it, we hold those in the midst of war in our hearts today. For this day, a poem from the man who became the voice of World War I for many people, Siegfried Sassoon. Many of his poems are bleak and hard to read, but this one has always shaken me the most; that he went through war, a horrific war, and could still write something so hopeful, or at least so finally free. May the wars end, and may we never forget to honor those who fought.

Everyone Sang
By Siegfried Sassoon

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on – on – and out of sight.

Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

from The Poetry Foundation website

~posted by Jenny C.

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One Response to On Veteran’s Day

  1. guestpeaker says:

    Reblogged this on From guestwriters and commented:
    One of the leading poets of the First World War, Siegfried Loraine Sassoon, CBE, MC (1886 – 1967) his poetry both described the horrors of the trenches, and satirised the patriotic pretensions of those who, in Sassoon’s view, were responsible for a jingoism-fuelled war.
    We may wonder what his lone protest against the continuation of the war in his “Soldier’s Declaration” of 1917 has made politicians change their ideas. Problem with human souls is that their perverted exercise of power shall continue bloodshed all over the world.

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