Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget...

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"In Flander's Fields" by John McCrae

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
Scarce 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 our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
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"For the Fallen" by Lawrence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
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POPnews - November 11th


[As Britain's - and indeed the Commonwealth's - principal mourner, Her Majesty The Queen has presided over numerous ceremonies in honour of those who've died serving their respective countries in times of war... Yet even the Royal Family has not been immune from such tragedies, as her uncle HRH The Duke of Kent died while in the commission of his duty in August 1942.]

1724 - Joseph Blake (alias Blueskin) was hanged at London's Tyburn gallows; a highwayman known for attacking 'Thief-Taker General' (and thief) Jonathan Wild at the Old Bailey, Blake was later immortalized in Blueskin's Ballad by John Gay.

1750 - The College of William and Mary's F.H.C. Society - also known as the Flat Hat Club - was formed at Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia, making it the first-ever fraternity in the United States.

1778 - Seneca Indians in central New York state killed more than forty people, in what came to be known as the Cherry Valley Massacre.

1805 - At the Battle of Dürenstein 8000 French troops commanded by Édouard Mortier attempted to slow the retreat of a vastly superior Russian and Austrian force under Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov.

1831 - Nat Turner was hanged at Jerusalem, Virginia, for having incited a violent slave rebellion the previous August.

1839 - The Virginia Military Institute was founded.

1864 - Union General William Tecumseh Sherman began burning Atlanta to the ground in preparation for his famous March to the Sea; these events form the core of Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel Gone With the Wind and the 1939 movie of the same name*.

*The most technically difficult sequence in the film has earned a place in film lore; the vast set-piece of the burning of Atlanta is indicated in the screenplay by just two words: 'Atlanta burns'. To this day, anything overly ambitious demanded by the director of a film will have the technicians on set grumbling these same two words until such time as they (inevitably) manage to achieve it.

1880 - Australian bushranger Ned Kelly was hanged at Melbourne Gaol.

1887 - Construction of the Manchester Ship Canal was begun at Eastham.

1889 - Washington became the 42nd US state.

1918 - At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month an armistice between Germany and Allied forces was signed, in a railway carriage near France's Compiègne Forest, ending World War I (then known as the Great War); on the same day Austrian Emperor Charles I relinquished all political power, but did not abdicate.

1919 - The Centralia Massacre in Centralia, Washington, resulted in the deaths of four members of the American Legion and the lynching of a local leader of the IWW.

1921 - The Tomb of the Unknowns was dedicated by US President Warren G. Harding at Arlington National Cemetery.

1926 - Route 66 was established between Chicago and Los Angeles.

1966 - NASA launched Gemini 12.

1975 - Australia's Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed the government of Gough Whitlam and commissioned Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister, announcing a general election to be held in early December; the country's gravest constitutional crisis to date is now more commonly known as The Dismissal.

1992 - The Church of England voted to allow women priests.

2004 - New Zealand's Tomb of the Unknown Warrior was dedicated at the National War Memorial in Wellington.

2008 - The RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) set sail on her final voyage, to Dubai.
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