Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Sacred remembrance

May 31st, 2010 by Vader

Some quotes and context.  

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, feld 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.

–John McCrae

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

— Winston Churchill, speaking of the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, 1940. It is possible that the bravery of the RAF that summer saved the West from another Dark Age. The average life expectancy of a British fighter pilot during the peak of the battle was about three weeks.

…My greatest hope is that we encounter a favorable tactical situation, but if we don’t and worst comes to worst, I want each one of us to do his utmost to destroy our enemies. If there is only one plane left to make a final run-in, I want that man to go in and get a hit. May God be with us all …

–Last instructions of LTCDR John Waldon to Torpedo Squadron 8, central Pacific, June 1942. The next day, Waldron led his squadron into oblivion in the pivotal Battle of Midway. However, Waldron’s torpedo planes distracted the Japanese sufficiently to leave them vulnerable to a devastating dive bomber attack that changed the course of the battle and the war.

Take her down!

— Last command of LTCDR Howard Gilmore, south Pacific, 1942. His submarine, the Growler, had been caught on the surface by a Japanese patrol boat, and Gilmore was severely wounded by machine gun fire. His order to crash-dive saved his boat but cost him his own life. He received a posthumous Medal of Honor.

Never in my wildest imagination had I contemplated Captain Haldane’s death. We had a steady stream of killed and wounded leaving us, but somehow I assumed Ack Ack was immortal. Our company commander represented stability and direction in a world of violence, death, and destruction. Now his life had been snuffed out. We felt forlorn and lost. It was the worst grief I endured during the entire war. The intervening years have not lessened it any.

— E.B. Sledge, writing in 1981 of his beloved company commander, killed in action at Peleliu, western Pacific, 1944. By the end of the Okinawa campaign, just 26 Peleliu veterans were left in Sledge’s company of 265 men.

Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.

— Inscription on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetary, Virginia, USA. The soldier buried here was one of many killed in the First World War who was known to be American but could not be individually identified.

When you go home,
Tell them of us, and say,
For your tomorrow
We gave our today.

Went the day well?
We died and never knew.
But, well or ill,
Freedom, we died for you.

— John Maxwell Edmonds. Inscribed at the British military cemetary at Kohima, Assam, India. The defense of Kohima, 1944, was brutal and costly, but broke the power of the Japanese Army in Burma.

To all those members of the Parachute Infantry, United States Army, 1941-1945, who wear the Purple Heart not as a decoration, but as a badge of office.

— Stephen Ambrose. Dedication of Band of Brothers. By the end of the Northwest Europe campaign, some U.S. divisions had suffered casualties in their rifle companies of over 150% of their TOE strength.

There is a port of no return, where ships
May ride at anchor for a little space
And then, some starless night, the cable slips,
Leaving an eddy at the mooring place . . .
Gulls, veer no longer. Sailor, rest your oar.
No tangled wreckage will be washed ashore.

— Leslie Nelson Jennings, “Lost Harbor.” Traditional epitaph for missing submariners. Fifty U.S. submarines were lost in the Pacific, most of them with all hands. No other service suffered as high a percentage of men killed or missing in action.

And they shall be mine, sayeth the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.

— Malachi 3:17; inscribed at the British commando cemetery in Normandy.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

— Abraham Lincoln

You will swamp the cutter containing the women and children; I implore you not to do this thing and I ask you all to stand fast.

— Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Seton, 74 Regiment of Foot. He was one of about 500 soldiers who, together with some Royal Marines and about 100 women and children, were aboard HMS Birkenhead when hit an uncharted rock off the coast of South Africa. The women and children were placed in the ship’s cutter, but there was considerable difficulty with the other ship’s boats. As the ship broke up, her captain ordered the men to abandon ship and swim for the boats, but Seton persuaded the men to remain aboard lest they panic and endanger the women and children. Only a handful of the men survived.


God of our fathers, known of old —
Lord of our far-flung battle line —
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine —
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget — lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies —
The Captains and the Kings depart —
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget — lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away —
On dune and headland sinks the fire —
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget — lest we forget!

–Rudyard Kipling, “Recessional”

Comments (1)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill | Tags:
May 31st, 2010 09:53:08
1 comment

Adam G.
May 31, 2010


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