Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-11 > 0910408467
From: "Charles.Clark" <>
Subject: Fw: Remembrance
Date: Sat, 07 Nov 1998 16:14:27 +1300
Excuse me if I don't join the Remembrance celebrations on Veterans Day
which I understand to be November 11. Oh it's not that my family doesn't
have things to remember, nor that New Zealand or Australia don't have
our own remembering to do.
Down here in Australia and New Zealand we remember much the same things
on April 25, Anzac Day, the day we commemorate the campaign on Gallipoli
And as for the note that "Some veterans bear visible signs of their
service" and "Others may carry the evidence inside them" etc. I
understand that too. One uncle having been shot down over Germany and
then a POW for two and a half years at Lamsdorf, near Auschwitz, another
having been in the Royal Engineers and driven bulldozers filling in pits
But if you will excuse me, I don't necessarily find myself getting so
emotionally involved when I ponder the notion that "Except in parades,
however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or
emblem." After all, I'm not an American. I'm a New Zealander, born in
Ireland. And my relatives didn't go to war to keep America free. They
went to war, rather before America got involved, I might add, for
reasons much more connected with England than with America.
I look a little bit sideways when I read that "He -or she- is a soldier
and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more
than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest
nation ever known." After all, pretty much everyone who goes to war
probably thinks they are fighting on behalf of the "finest, greatest
nation ever known." That probably applied to the Germans, the Japanese,
the Viet Cong, and maybe for some even the Iraqis. Certainly applied to
the New Zealanders and Australians at Gallipoli. Some of the Americans
on the list might ponder the thought that in the view of some of those
on various other sides, it is the Americans who represent the "darkness"
against which the soldier is a sword.
So I have nothing against commemorating the war dead, and those who
suffered, in many cases very much, in time of war. But any remembrance
of war dead inevitably becomes partisan. I wonder how the "Father Denis
Edward O'Brien, USMC" who wrote that would approach a commemoration of
German or Japanese war dead, a commemoration of those who fought and
killed some of the United States Veterans he remembers on November 11
Why do I write this? Because in the Irish context, it seems all so much
more complicated. So easy for Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC to be
5000 miles away from a conflict, and able to say "those people over
there are the enemy, and these ones here are the patriots, and we'll
commemorate these ones but not those." But when one is involved in a
civil war, as in Ireland, those easy distinctions are no longer valid.
Some of those commemorated are the baddies, and there are many goodies
on the other side. So if you don't mind, I won't join in your ceremonial
remembrance of your veterans.
|Fw: Remembrance by "Charles.Clark" <>|