Categories
Christmas Photo I Like

Now THAT”S A Christmas Tree

A man dressed as Santa Claus stands in front of Germany’s biggest Christmas tree, illuminated by 48,000 lights at the traditional Christmas market in Dortmund, Germany, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. The 45-meter high tree was built with 1,700 spruces and is a main attraction during advent season.​

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http://digg.com/2015/http-digg-com-2015-http-digg-com-2015-digg-pic-11-24?utm_medium=email&utm_source=digg

Categories
Commentary

Was That A Soccer Game, Or What?

Blood, mayhem, aggression, speed, defense…USA 2, Germany 0.  Should have gone to a bar for the wall-sized TV.

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Uncategorized

Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Justice Robert I. Jackson

NUREMBERG TRIAL

“We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.”
—Supreme Court Justice Robert I. Jackson, Chief prosecutor, Nuremberg war crimes tribunal

Categories
Commentary

OVERLORD! The Day That Changed The World

ww2_dday_landing
http://hottytoddy.com/2014/06/05/larry-wells-salute-to-d-day-70th-anniversary/

It can be argued that the Germans were already doomed; they just didn’t know it yet.  Morally bereft, overextended, overconfident, and reaping the seeds sown by poking the Russian bear to their north and east, the “Thousand-Year Reich” would not last a decade. For millions, it could not end soon enough.  Despite its losses in Africa, the defeat of its axis partner, Italy, and the terrible grinding will of the Soviets, who had clearly shown they would fight not only to the last man, but to the last woman and child, the Nazi war machine in the spring of 1944 could still muster terrible destructive force–and millions still languished under the twisted, genocidal psychopathy of Adolf Hitler and his minions.  They had to be stopped.

And they would be.  Seventy years ago today American, British, and Canadian forces slogged onto the heavily fortified beaches of Normandy, France under a withering firestorm and into the arms of mayhem and, for many, death.  I can’t imagine it.  YOU can’t imagine it.  Steven Spielberg might have come close, albeit on a very small scale, in the opening  moments of Saving Private Ryan–the clip below is not for folks prone to nightmares.

Over a third of the men in the first wave of the assault were dead within the first hour–many in the first two minutes.  Immediately besieged by an onslaught of machine gun fire, many saved themselves by jumping from their landing craft into the churning waters, only to drown under the weight of their equipment.  Those who found purchase in the waves faced a virtual wall of gunfire, artillery, and mines placed amidst carefully arranged obstacles.

omahaThe survivors in the surf now faced a thousand feet of beach, all of it in the gun sights of those fortified German emplacements in the bluffs above. It must have been impossible for some of them to believe, but within eleven months Hitler would be dead, and the German war machine in ruins. Much of the fiercest fighting of the war remained–not just in Europe, but in the Pacific, as well–but D-Day was the real beginning of the end.

But I’m not here to teach you a history lesson that hundred have done before me, each a hundred times better than I could–and all of it a simple google search away.   You can manage that yourself. I’m just here to remind you what was given, freely and willingly.  And if you’re lucky enough to know a some surly old codger who spent some time in uniform back in the day, today would be an excellent time to pat him on the back.

As I write this, I find that my words are inadequate–better to show.  This collection of photos is excellent, especially for the somewhat rare color pictures that are included.  I find that the black and white pictures that were standard in that time create a certain disconnect, the shades of grey in some senses otherworldly in their starkness.

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/06/remembering_d-day_66_years_ago.html

 

 

Categories
Poetry

War Poems For National Poetry Month: Wilfred Owen, Dulce Et Decorum Est

gassed-1918

Panama…then Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq again, Afganistan–right or wrong, for causes both just and cynical, we’ve been in an exhausting, nearly constant state of war, however distant and vaguely defined, since I graduated from High School in the 1980’s–and that was just a few deep breaths after the war in Viet Nam/ Cambodia/ Laos that defined my father and his generation.  It seems fitting to start out a series of my favorite poems with war theme.

I’ve thought of no other poem more than this one over the past two decades, which speaks volumes for Wilfred Owen, who wrote from a foxhole in World War I–the “War To End All Wars.”  In the age of biological weapons, this piece resounds like the deepest church bells on a cold, crisp night.

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!– An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.–
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

http://www.english.emory.edu/LostPoets/Seaman.html