Remember....

.... what a small, small World we live in... where parallels meet...... it is amazing... and today - it is sad....

.... I have been reading this evening the tale of Captain Nolan of the 11th Hussars.... and his subsequent demise during the Crimean War..... the movie came on first - the version from 1968 - and it piqued my interest.... So I began researching...

... good God... being an amateur student of history, it was a shocker..... a rude awakening yet again, like revisiting Chickamauga....

... the scene is so famous and yet so incredibly horrible... immortalized by Tennyson AND Kipling... but with two totally different slants....

... blame... fame... death... immortality.... futility... glory.... art... poetry... and in the end, beggars.... starving beggars..

... The Charge of The Light Brigade.... The Charge of The Heavy Brigade... and the almost-mythic stand of The Thin Red Line at Balaclava....

... all within the space of 24 hours of battle... all in the blinking of one man's eyes... or a hundred men's heartbeats....

.... Sevastopol... yes, Sevastopol was the key to the battle, as always.... at least that is what the history books tell us... but damnation, people.... what a price to pay to not even take the city.... What a loss of life.... And what a terribly sick ending for the veterans - according to Rudyard.....

... case in point, and pay attention.... I was on the phone with Elisson earlier today and we were talking about Tennyson's classic poem of the battle... (which I just re-read it in its entirety, I might add).... and afterwards I kept following link upon link regarding the clash... and therein was my downfall..... for after a while, well, I re-discovered my Kipling.....

... sure, sure.... We all remember the "cannons to right of them, cannons to left of them, cannons to front of them.... Volley'd and thunder'd.... "... but what a fucking crock.....what bravery, courage, sacrifice, loss, and complete and utter bullshit....

.. Tennyson's lines are carved onto our psyche... and they will be forever recited and memorized as odes to the stiffness of men... Duty, Honor, and the Original Tale of Valor.... The consummate tale of fuck you, my enemy, here I come.'.... and the words will continue to ring with the Truth of Ages..... but we should not forget our Kipling, dear reader.... Not ever.... Not ever, ever, ever...... because the men who fight our battles and bleed on foreign fields come home.... and even though the poems stop being written, the soldiers live on....

... behold....

The Last of the Light Brigade, by Rudyard Kipling

There were thirty million English who talked of England's might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four !

They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."

They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant's order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.

They strove to stand to attention, to straighen the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.

The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said,
"You wrote o' the Light Brigade, sir. Here's all that isn't dead.
An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the mouth of hell;
For we're all of us nigh to the workhouse, an' we thought we'd call an' tell.

"No, thank you, we don't want food, sir; but couldn't you take an' write
A sort of 'to be continued' and 'see next page' o' the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an' couldn't you tell 'em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now."

The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn."
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.

O thirty million English that babble of England's might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children's children are lisping to "honour the charge they made - "
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!

... we are in a War now.... and I swear that I will do everything in my power to support the troops... especially when they return home.....

by Eric on September 28, 2006 | Bullshit (12) | TrackBack (0) | Poetry
Bullshit So Far

Thanks Eric. The American politicians and public has always had short memories and selective memory loss when it comes to our veterans. We who serve and have served are not the policy makers. We obey the orders of those who send us and fight for our brothers and sisters, our honor, our lives, and our country. The way our veterans of the past have been treated is and always has been a national disgrace..take a look at how the civil war vets were treated and then again at those from WW one who had a mass rally in Washington DC just trying to get a little help during the great depression.

There are several veterans organazations that lobby congress and try to keep veteran affairs at the forefront. I am a lifetime member of the DAV which does a pretty good job trying to help the disabled Vets. The VFW and American Legions are also involved trying to get more funds for the VA hospitals.

I shudder to think what will happen to vets if the current left wingers get into power..

Bullshitted by GUYK on September 28, 2006 09:30 AM

Well said, my man.

It's all too easy to forget the guys who laid it on the line for the rest of us. Easy...and wrong.

Bullshitted by Elisson on September 28, 2006 09:53 AM

One beautiful post my friend !!.

Perhaps you know this but Kipling's poem Tommy Atkins describes the Britsh attitude towards their soldies back in the 19th century.

Bullshitted by DanToom on September 28, 2006 12:24 PM

What a gorgeous post. I'm with you on that last line.

Bullshitted by Libby on September 28, 2006 12:39 PM

What a lovely post, Eric. Very true, and very eloquently written.

Bullshitted by Kelly on September 28, 2006 01:02 PM

Amen.

Bullshitted by Richmond on September 28, 2006 01:05 PM

I too am with you fine sir.

Bullshitted by oddybobo on September 28, 2006 01:37 PM

Some things never change. How disheartening...

Bullshitted by Bou on September 28, 2006 02:36 PM

Hoss, I'm named after a Kipling novel, so I feel I can channel him with some degree of authenticity. And he would say it's only a small world when you look in the mirror naked. I'm pretty sure that's what he would say.

Bullshitted by Velociman on September 28, 2006 06:13 PM

God Bless ye Sir, and like soldiers of every war, like them, that's all we ask.

Peaceful men sleep peaceably in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence in their behalf.

To many have become so craven that they would deny that very fact, as if it would tarnish them with the title "rough" as they think it would dimish them. When in fact the opposite is true.

I've posted of 2 of my nephews on my blog.

Bullshitted by K. D. Zu on September 28, 2006 07:32 PM

I am purposefully late on this comment string.
There is always in life soldiers that are not looked after.
In many countries it takes a Regime change to leave lifelong soldiers with nothing.
In your country it might only be a change from one party to another.
That is your problem.
I know a couple of Vietnam Vets that were fucked over by the US of A.
These guys were young enough and strong enough to start over again and make a life for themselves.
(Andrew is a double amputee (legs) and Jason has one eye left)
They are not whiners and love the USA, they sometimes feel let down.

New medical techniques keep the numbers for killed (political) down and increases the number of injured.
This is a good thing. But we have to look after them.

I can't compete with Kipling.

In Gods verlate straat,
is daar net haat,
en soldate,
is verlate,
met skete,
en kwate.
(nicS 1979)

Please look after them, they are also fighting my fight as I have no army left to fight it for me.

Bullshitted by KeesKennis on September 29, 2006 03:56 PM

Bravo, Eric, bravo...and to all the above commenters.

Bullshitted by Jean on September 29, 2006 08:09 PM