Saturday May 18, 2013
Flanders Fields and the Forgotten Lessons of WarTim King Salem-News.com
And the young people ask why they are marching for, and I ask myself the same question...
(SACRAMENTO, CA) - Alright war fans... those who think the military is a good thing and that wars of attrition, which World War One purely was, are somehow justified. Here is a story that tells the real story of war, that is death, destruction, sadness, suffering, and more death.
The terrible smells of decaying human flesh, young men, boys really, screaming for their mothers as they lie in agony from mortal wounds. This is what war supporters believe is OK. It's funny how when the smoke clears, they are all the same.
Be they German, British, American, Japanese, Vietnamese, Afghan or Iraqi.
People are born where they are born and most have little chance of not becoming a minion for their own cultural elite and wealthy.
Wars suck. They are the devil's work
Wars blow. Conflicts are designed to rob human lives and to take real estate and resources from governments that are weaker than the one launching the war itself.
Wars take things, they don't give. War severely damages even its most diehard participants.
I have personally walked the WWI battlefields of France and it is a somber experience to say the least to visit places like Verdun, Romagne and Belleau Wood. It made me feel guilty, to walk on that blood soaked ground as a U.S. traveler. As an American I know my nation finally committed itself toward saving France and yet I know also the ridicule that France suffered for not taking part in the needless Iraq war.
I was going to present a series of Flanders Field photos that were sent to our newsroom today, however the person who owns the photos does not want them displayed by a commercial news agency. Sadly I can find no sign of H. Donkervoet, the photographer, online, so I can't carry the individual's photos. However I did locate a number of Flanders Fields photographs and they seem to tell the story in a better way as many are from WWI when the battle was raging.
As we stand only one year away from the anniversary of WWI, it seems a good time to talk about the most horrible war, one that that robbed France and Germany and England and America and so many other countries of so many of its finest young men.
Civilians paid a heavy toll in this war also, those who lived in the wrong parts of France and Belgium particularly.
The song 'Children's Crusade' by Sting puts World War One into perspective:
Marching through countries they'd never seen
Virgins with rifles, a game of charades
All for a Children's Crusade
Strewn on the fields of Belgium and France
Poppies for young men, death's bitter trade
All of those young lives betrayed
They're trapped on the wire and dying in waves
The flower of England face down in the mud
And stained in the blood of a whole generation
To this very day, my wife Bonnie remembers the poem below, it is timeless in meaning. Sons and daughters are not born to be military death pawns. While sometimes it is justified, war should always be avoided at all cost, instead the U.S. government relies on it for financial salvation, and this is a death sentence for all of us.
In Flanders Fields
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
Scars 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 your quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold up high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields
- John McCrae
In Flanders Fields tells a person absolutely everything they need to know in few words, if they only paid attention. I know the call to war is alluring for young men and women also, but the more people refuse, the longer they live. As our team at Salem-News.com knows all too well, one doesn't have to fight in a war to have their life radically changed by military service.
The health impacts from years of base contamination and choices of the U.S. government to use cancer-causing chemical toxins like Agent Orange, have been a death sentence for many Veterans. Let's please learn, sometime soon, that war should be resisted at all costs by all people.
My interest in the war stems in part from an ancestor of mine, Robby Slaughter, who was gassed by the Germans while fighting in France in 1918. I never knew him but I always was moved by his story. He ended up living in San Clemente based on a doctor's recommendation, as the ocean air was expected to prolong his life.
What a thing. Both sides in the so-called 'Great War' used poisonous gas on the other side. WWI was the first major conflict where gas was used, at least from what I have learned over the years, it is a foul idea, destroying the lungs of young men fighting for their countries.
As the years passed, I became captured by the story of Frank Luke Jr., an American ace from Arizona who was in fact the top U.S. fighter pilot at the time of his death in September 1918. I care mostly about Luke because he was an extraordinary humanitarian, in spite of his war fighter role. He is one of so many who did not hesitate to fight, he is also one of so many who learned it would be the last thing he would ever do as a person.
I do hope that we can learn from the centennial observation of this terrible war. We have not progressed very much since this time, 99 years ago, we have instead learned to kill more effectively, to be less tolerant, and it was also discovered along the way that the media will make people into nationalists when it is an object or tool of a government that wars for profit.
U.S. President Barack Obama could have done so much more, he is no savior to the suffering, only part of the bigger problem. We learn very slowly in this country don't we?
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer
You can write to Tim at this address: email@example.com.
Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)
With almost 25 years of experience on the west coast and worldwide as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor, Tim King is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.
Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu
In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.
Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide.
Articles for February 19, 2013 | Articles for February 20, 2013 | Articles for February 21, 2013
|Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | Copyright © 2013 Salem-News.com | news tips & press releases: email@example.com.|