Legends from our own lunchtimes

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Lest We Forget
Killing Fields

Somewhere during the course of the morning it occurred to us that we might have at one point a few days ago, have made a decision to get underway yesterday.   If indeed we had done so, which neither of us could recall clearly, that must have been before Grahame and Aileen suggested accompanying them on a small road trip to Verdun, and before we realised that the next two days would be public holidays and it would therefore be remiss of us not to take advantage of them by doing not much.

Today in France is set aside more or less to commemorate the fallen of World War II and while the ground around Verdun holds the bodies of hundreds of thousands of young men who failed to return to their homes from the first Great War, and Verdun is a short drive away, it seemed like an appropriate time to pay a visit.

It's not a cheery place, with fortresses and trenches and foxholes pretty much as they were at the end of the war a century ago, where the bodies of young men who in todays society would not have been old enough to leave school are interred, depending on the circumstances of their falling, within neat rows of graves or simply behind walls of rubble.

Having been raised up in country Australia with a monument to those who gave their lives on the corner of every main street, and a portrait of a lost soldier hanging in what seemed like every elderly person's hallway, the spectre of war in far away places is not new, but somehow standing where it all happened, in one of those far away places, and where they lie, seems to emphasise the frustrating stupidity of it all, and the madness and sadness of young lives lost, for a cause that was not of their making.

Lest we forget.

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