"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, 3 May 2017


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "GUEST POST ON VIMY RIDGE": 

I wrote the original post Evelyn. Thank you for publishing it.  

The Great War was a terrible time. I think more so than WWII. It was a time when technology was being tested but still "old school" tactics and weapons were being used.  

The airplane had only existed since 1903. Only 12 years later flimsy contraptions were being used to find and photograph the enemy, shoot down the enemy or bomb the enemy. Meanwhile, old-style trenches extended for hundreds and hundreds of miles. Most of them filled with mud, water, rats and death. The machine gun was a recent invention. No longer did you need to be an accurate shot, all you had to do is press the trigger and move it left to right and back again. The Germans created the first weapon of terror.... mustard gas. Put into artillery shells or just in canisters that were opened and let travel on the winds. Of course, this brilliant weapon was not lost on the allies, they developed their own gas weapons. 

Part of the success of the Vimy battle was attributed to the artillery barrage that "crept" in front of the troops. As the shells fell and exploded, the troops moved behind them. After a period of time, the guns were adjusted to shoot a little further, and then the troops moved up behind.  

I visited France and Belgium two years ago. If anyone needs to understand the horror of this conflict, you only need to drive along any road in the Calais area. You can be driving along and a small cemetery appears. In some cases it may be as small as 10-15 headstones. But, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains every one of these cemeteries. The grass is immaculate. Dead flowers are disposed of. Broken headstones are replaced. At the entrance to every cemetery, there is a nook with a door. In there is a binder with a catalogue of all those buried there and in needed, a map to help find the grave.  

The Vimy memorial itself, contains the names of every Canadian solder that was killed but their body never recovered. The names go all around the structure. To further bring some reality to the area, the grounds of the park area where the memorial is located have not changed substantially in 100 years. There are craters from the shelling. Signs and wires tell you to not go into those areas because there is still unexploded ordinance there. Inside that area are sheep grazing. It is more pleasant to pick up exploded sheep than exploded people.  

Travel a little further east and you go to the Town of Ypres, Belgium. Google Ypres and look at the pre-1915 photos and compare to 1918. The town was levelled. They rebuilt it and you would never know what savage destruction was here. On the east entrance to the town is the Menin Gate. A large structure that contains the name of every Commonwealth soldier that was killed but who's body was never found. Thousands of names.  

A final thought. Driving down those roads and you come to a cemetery. The headstones for the allies are bright white granite. I happened by a German cemetery. All of those grave markers were black. Think about the imaging of that. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 3 May 2017 at 14:27


Anonymous said...

Thanks for comment and posting.

Anonymous said...

A number of high schools have special fund raisers to send kids to the War sites in Europe. Those who need help with the cost get it through a year or so of sales, shows and events. The one I heard about was in a town north of here. The impact of seeing the countries in the context of their studies in class and on the internet is wonderful to watch. Hopefully it will remain with them.