Bird’s Eye View 11/11/2009
by Steve Sparks, November 11, 2009
Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably I shall begin.
Public Service Announcements #115: The monthly meeting of the Independent Career Women will take place next Wednesday, Nov 18th at Lauren’s Restaurant at 7pm. I hope my invitation does not get lost in the mail yet again. When will the men in this Women-Powered Valley get something similar organized? #116: An early heads-up that the Vets from Mendocino Animal Hospital will be in the Valley for their monthly visit next Thursday, Nov 19th. They will be at the Farm Supply north of Philo on Highway 128 from 2-3:30pm. #117: And another early warning for you: the final Barn Sale of the year will be on Saturday/Sunday, November 21st/22nd at The Big Barn at the St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church Refectory on AV Way just north of Boonville. More details next week.
Today, November 11th, is Veterans Day (Remembrance Day in Europe and Canada), rightfully regarded as a very important day for observance. This occasion marks the anniversary of the end of hostilities in World War One (the so-called “War to end all Wars” — if only it had been), which took place at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. It is not a day to celebrate victories but rather one to take a moment for remembrance of those who fought, and in many cases gave their lives, so that ours may be better. I’d like to share with you a few words from the very moving poem ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon, written in 1924, that will allow you to reflect for a brief moment or two on this day. This four-line stanza is also known as ‘The Remembrance.’
“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.”
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And for this week’s edition of Anderson Valley Who’s Who I appropriately offer you the names of those who run the local branch of the American Legion. Keep up the good work and many thanks to all who served: Commander Ray Langevin, Adjutant Mark Fontaine, Sergeant-at-Arms Freda Fox, Vice Commander Brian Schreiner, Membership Secretary Larry Lombard, and Financial Officer Kirk Wilder.
Quote of the Week. Well, we’re not having a quote this week but rather a poem, or part of one. I thought it would be appropriate to include a poignant verse from the poem “Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori” (It is sweet and correct to die for one’s country) by World War One poet, Wilfred Owen, probably the finest war poet of all. Owen and others had suffered a gas attack by the Germans and were transporting a dying fellow soldier away from the front lines. The man’s suffering leads Owen to seriously question the persuasive argument for going to war that is often given to impressionable youth by those they may look up to.
“If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My Friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.”
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Be careful out there. May your god go with you. Let us pray. Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. PS. Contact me with words of support/abuse either through the Letters Page or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.