Nov 112017
 

“At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.” — History.com

In Canada, Remembrance Day was originally know as Armistice Day but it was changed as the “war to end all wars” was not the last.  . . .  WWII, the Korean conflict (there was actually no declaration of war — North Korea invaded South Korea and then on 25 June 1950, the United Nations Security Council unanimously condemned the North’s invasion of the South, with United Nations Security Council Resolution 82 and the UN then provided support to South Korea in their civil war with the North), Afghanistan, peacekeeping in Cyprus, Rwanda, the Balkans, and other places.  The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has said that Remembrance Day is now a day of “remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict, and peace.”
 
We ask our soldiers to do the most horrendous thing — kill another human being — but not just once, but over and over again.  Yet when they return home, there isn’t enough support, whether it be medical, financial especially in this economy, or moral support in dealing with all the trauma and then trying to fit in a civilian life where rules are not always so clear cut.
 
Whether a veteran returns in a body bag, or walks off that troop carrier seemingly whole, we OWE all veterans a debt of gratitude and support.

I originally posted this in 2015.

flanders fields

Wild poppies grow on the verge of a Flanders field near Passchendaele as dawn breaks on the centenary of the Great War.  Getty

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, felt 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.

Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, Canadian physician

flanders fields

The setting sun creates long shadows at Sanctuary Wood Military Cemetery in Ypres.  Getty

flanders fields

The morning sun falls on the fortified Advanced Dressing Station, near Essex Farm Cemetery in Ypres, where Canadian doctor Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae treated the wounded and is believed to have composed his famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ after burying his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, on 3 May 1915.  Getty

ypres trench

A preserved WWI trench system is pictured in Sanctuary Wood in Ypres. Getty

ypres bomb craters

Bomb craters scar the woodland floor in the preserved Sanctuary Wood.  Getty

ypres

A surviving tree, damaged in the Great War, is covered in tributes.  Getty

Ypres was the centre of five battles between German and Allied forces from 1914 to 1918. The deadliest of these was the Third Battle of Ypres or the Battle of Passchendaele, between July and November 1917.
Casualty numbers are disputed, but it is thought that around 325,000 Allied and 260,000 German troops lost their lives.

1917 ypres

5 January 1917: Soldiers march past the ruins of St Martins Church and Cloth Hall in Ypres.  Getty

1917 ypres

5 October 1917: Australian troops march towards the front line to relieve their comrades, who had won Broodseinde Ridge the previous day, during the Battle of Passchendaele.  Getty

1917 ypres

11 November 1917: Soldiers pose for a photo near the ramparts at Ypres the day after British, Canadian, ANZAC, and French forces finally recaptured the Passchendaele Ridge east of Ypres. Getty

1918 Ypres

19 April 1918: Soldiers lie dead in the mud on a battlefield during the Lys Offensive, also known as the Fourth Battle of Ypres.  Getty

 

With respect for those who fought & died in Two World Wars

For all the victims, and for the victims of all wars past & present

Remembering the human cost of war, not the financial or political cost of warfare.

 Remembering every animal not given a choice, each one a tragic victim

 of wars past and present

Lest we forget

 

 

A big thank you to Wendy Kelly, Coventry, UK, a Care2 member who sent me most of the pictures and captions

 

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Celebrating Labor Day!

 Posted by at 12:53 pm  Holiday, Politics
Sep 042017
 

Labor-day2012

For most of my early life I considered Labor Day little more than a day off at the end of summer.  That’s because I am not a union man.  I have never belonged to a union, nor has anyone in my family.  So what has the labor movement done for me?  I have learned what organized labor has done to improve the lot of all American Workers, and I have come to understand that Labor Day is a celebration of Union labor, and one that is well deserved.

This is a minor variation on last year’s article.  I found no reason to change it.

laborThinkProgress has assembled just five of the many things that Americans can thank the nation’s unions for giving us all:

1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend: Even the ultra-conservative Mises Institute notes that the relatively labor-free 1870, the average workweek for most Americans was 61 hours — almost double what most Americans work now…

2. Unions Gave Us Fair Wages And Relative Income Equality: As ThinkProgress reported earlier in the week, the relative decline of unions over the past 35 years has mirrored a decline in the middle class’s share of national income…

3. Unions Helped End Child Labor: “Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined” in U.S. history, with organization’s like the “National Consumers’ League” and the National Child Labor Committee” working together in the early 20th century to ban child labor…

4. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage: “The rise of unions in the 1930′s and 1940′s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans, as labor unions banded workers together to negotiate for health coverage plans from employers…

5. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act: Labor unions like the AFL-CIO federation led the fight for this 1993 law, which “requires state agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave annually for workers to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, seriously ill family member or for the worker’s own illness.”

… [emphasis original]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

It’s well worth the time to click through for the rest of this article.

Furthermore, here is an excellent video on what labor has done for America.

 

Therefore, to begin my celebration of Labor Day in the best possible way, I wish to thank all of you who are or have been union workers.  My life is better because of you.  And to you and everyone else, have a Happy Labor Day!

Support Labor!  Dump Trump!

RESIST THE REPUBLICAN REICH!!

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