"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Who The Hell I Am

On Friday evening, I called the desk sergeant at Number One District  and asked what it would take to withdraw the charge for stealing a poppy box.

A store can withdraw shoplifting charges if they choose. It occurred to me if an offer was made to restore whatever was in the  box considerable expense and misery might be avoided.

Charges could not be withdrawn. The process had to be followed. Canadian Tire was referenced.

I wrote a post about it.

A  furious anonymous demanded to know;  " Who the Hell do you think you are?"

I  did not publish it. I don't have to respond to it.  But I want to.

Blog Readers know who I am.  I have few secrets.

I am the daughter and grand-daughter of two mothers who lost sons in the carnage of two world wars.

I was fifteen when my brother was killed.  He was twenty-two. My mother was sixteen when her brother's life blood soaked into the sand at the Dardanelles in Turkey .He also was twenty-two.

They disembarked in their thousands armed with rifles. Young bodies were ripped to shreds by the machine gun fire that awaited them.

My brother was in the Air Force in the  Second World War.

On a bombing raid over the Ruhr, the plane took a direct hit.  The pilot and co-pilot were dead in the burning inferno. My brother was wounded and his parachute in  the burning  part of the plane . He and a surviving crew member ,with one parachute between them, wrapped  arms around each other and jumped.

He knew they would black out on the way down. He told me when he was on leave the week before.

He had to jump or be blown to pieces when the plane  exploded in the sky.

My brother was buried in Dusseldorf . His identification tag, rosary missing the crucifix and a small pen knife  were kept safe while my mother continued to hope he would come home. She grew a little stash of  his favorites like apricot jam  for his return.

When the  war ended, a few months later, Patrick was still officially "Missing In Action"

We learned  the details  from the father of the surviving crew member who was taken as a prisoner of war

I notified the War Office.

By return telegram the War Office notified  us ;  Flight/Sergeant Patrick Finnigan  is  confirmed killed in action.

After Remembrance Day, I watched a T.V. feature on Winston Churchill. In the First War he tried  to alert politicians and Generals to the reality of machine warfare. It was hardly a secret.

No matter.  They sent  millions of  men to their deaths carrying rifles and wearing tin hats against
tanks, howitzers and machine guns.

They sent artists to record the history of war , then banned the exhibition  because they depicted the awful fear,despair and certain knowledge of impending doom on the faces of men who were little more than boys.

Charlie Rose had an American General on his program last week.  He has written a book pointing out the obvious.

Lessons  we do not learn from history ,we are doomed to repeat.

Today's armies are volunteer. They do not number hundreds of thousands of  conscripted men. They
can't be court-martialled by an officer  and shot to death  on the spot for desertion.

War is not like anything previous. Friends are not who they appear to be.Enemies appear to be friends.

Wars  need to be fought differently.,

The General is frustrated. Just like Churchill was a hundred years ago.

I don't believe the awful nature of my brother's  or my mother's brother's deaths are respected or acknowledged by sending  idealistic young Canadians to be blown to pieces by roadside bombs in Afghanistan.  Or to return home traumatized by the horror they have witnessed  and the senselessness of it all.

I believe wars are lost  by the side whose army is decimated first.

At the ends of the second war, allied troops discovered they were killing fifteen year old children in uniforms.

I don't believe wars are won.

Quite the contrary.

No amount of money raised by the sale of poppies and wreaths, nor theatrical performances at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day convince me otherwise.

I am the daughter and grand-daughter of women who lost  sons in circumstances no mother should have to bear.

At the hands of their own leaders.

I do not forget.

It 's who the hell I am.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This is a very powerful and beautiful piece.

In the olden days kings, queens and generals led their armies into battle. And many lost their lives.

But they were true leaders, compared to the scummy cowards we have today, and send our young men and women to die while they make speeches.

Anonymous said...

You always write your best when faced with monumental stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Well….Hell! I bet you shut the traps of one or two people. Nicely written Evelyn.

Anonymous said...

I think the saying " Don't Tread On Me " traces back to Ben Franklin but it sure fits you. Maybe a new title for the Blog one day ?

Anonymous said...

That must have been a one-of. The comments on your post did not reflect that sort of nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Why would someone be hassling you about expressing understanding and knowledge far greater than his/her own ? I love it when you bring your experience into play.

Anonymous said...

Ouch ! I do hope that hit your target but I do have to wonder what this character was even doing commenting on your Blog. Free speech, I guess.

Anonymous said...

"Free speech, I guess."

Yeah, what a concept!

Anonymous said...

There's nothing free. It always comes with a price. Evelyn knows one or two things about that as well.

Anonymous said...

There is clearly nothing wrong with your vision. That might be the best of your posts that I have read.

Anonymous said...

I think it is great that you let that comment stew for a while before putting up your post. People mess with history at their own peril and someone [ maybe even the resident troll ] was messing with yours. Well done.

Anonymous said...

You are secure in yourself - others are still fighting the election............

Something Fishy in Aurora said...

A good read about life after service.


Anonymous said...

There are $11 BILLION unspent dollars at Veterans Affairs. That is not out country takes care of our service-people.