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I hope we all took a 'minute of silence' to pay our respects to millions of slaughtered civilians ..... and especially the soldiers who were called to serve and willingly made the ultimate sacrifice.

And I hope we ask orselves: "Why?"

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Greetings Fools All:

Today is Rememberance day here in Canada, the anniversary of the sigining of the Armistice marking the end of WWI. Last week, one of the last Canadian Veteran of that war died at the age of 106, leaving only 6 living Vetrans from that time. Eric Bogle, an Australian songwriter, wrote the moving balad "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda", partially as an anti-war song, and partially to honour the Australian troops who fought at Gallipoli in WWI. I can never read the words or hear the song without tears coming to my eyes, and for those of you who may not know it, I am including the lyrics below:

"When I was a young man I carried me pack
And I lived the free life of the rover
From the Murray`s green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in 1915 my country said: Son,
It`s time to stop rambling, there`s work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
When the ship pulled away from the quay
And amid all the tears, flag waving and cheers
We sailed off for Gallipoli.

It`s well I remember that terrible day
When our blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell they call Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk, he was ready, he primed himself well
He rained us with bullets, and he showered us with shell
And in five minutes flat, we were all blown to hell
He nearly blew us back home to Australia

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
When we stopped to bury our slain
Well we buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then it started all over again

Oh those that were living just tried to survive
In that mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
While around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head
And when I awoke in me hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
I never knew there was worse things than dying

Oh no more I`ll go Waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

They collected the wounded, the crippled, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind and the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And when the ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where me legs used to be
And thank Christ there was no one there waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity

And the Band played Waltzing Matilda
When they carried us down the gangway
Oh nobody cheered, they just stood there and stared
Then they turned all their faces away.

Now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Renewing their dreams of past glories
I see the old men all tired, stiff and worn
Those weary old heroes of a forgotten war
And the young people ask "What are they marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question

And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men still answer the call
But year after year, their numbers get fewer
Someday, no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who`ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong
So who`ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me? "
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I like to answer that question.

My Uncle

My uncle was a machine gunner during World War II. He fought with the Canadian Forces in Belgium where he died. I never knew him. Growing up he was just the picture with some metals hanging on my grandparent's wall.

Since then I have learned that he was the ring leader that kept my aunts and uncles out of trouble during the depression by starting a farm. His farm gave my grandparent's large family jobs. He had a girl friend and once owned the land that the church I attend now stands. The land was donated to the church by my grandfather after his death and a small plaque to that affect hangs above the doors.

My Father

My father also fought in World War II with the 166, an artillery unit in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. He now stumbles around because his war injuries have caught up to him. He is also quite hard of hearing, thanks in large part by standing next to the guns during the war.

But still, when he got a chance to go back to Italy with other veterans a few years ago, he jumped at the chance. This too took a toll on this health. There was a parade or two a day where the citizens of Italy turned out to greet their liberators once again, a wreath laying and a banquet in the evening. This went on for ten days as they travelled around Italy. Of course he had to take in every one of these events and paid for it when he got home with a trip to the local hospital.

Yesterday, he couldn't march with the veterans because his hip was bad. Still he made it to the War Memorial and took part. I brought my son along to watch.

My Brother-in-law

My brother-in-law is a captain in the Canadian Forces. He and the other members of the Canadian Forces might not make up a powerful army, but they are well respected around the world as peace keepers. Even the most powerful nation on Earth, expresses great disappointment when Canada is not able (or unwilling) to send a unit to be part of their coalition.

No matter how unfunded or over worked they are, only the Canadian Forces could get away with wearing a bright green uniform in a desert, just to distinguish themselves from other forces in the area. We can be proud of the Canadian Forces' contribution to world peace, but can they be proud of us when they have to use outdated equipment?

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Noo Noo - Nice post. Thanks. Eric
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