Remembrance Day and Lessons Forgotten

On this Remembrance Day 99 years later, recall that some 750,000 British soldiers, marines, and sailors were killed in WWI; nearly 400,000 more in WWII. The most heralded British war poets, emerging in 1915, were not practitioners of armchair verse. They were officers, and men, at the front in the trenches. Over four years their tone changed from lofty patriotic apologetics, to stark portraits of everyday horrors, and instant death within arm’s reach. The British Legion commemorates Remembrance Day Rupert Brooke, perhaps the literary dandy prototype, product of Rugby and Cambridge, before his death in 1915 while an officer for the Royal Navy, penned the typical overwrought elegy, exhorting gallantry, elevating the supreme sacrifice as a handmaiden to duty, and fealty in his “Soldier”: If I should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field That is forever England. There shall be In that rich earth a richer dust...(Read Full Article)

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