…ended, as one sage had it, with “a peace to end peace.”
We live with the consequences still.
The war’s most famous poem–most famous literature really–began with the words everyone remembers…
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row…
And ends with the words everyone conveniently forgets…
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.**
In the hundred years since, that faith has not merely been broken but shattered. Today, the Hundredth Anniversary of the Armistice, you’ll know the ones who broke the faith most completely so they could dance in the fragments by following the loudest sniffles.
It has been a very long time since anyone slept in Flanders fields and will be even longer before they do so again.
Shame on us.
*British Officer Archibald Wavell, commenting on the Paris treaty that “ended” the Great War.
**”In Flanders Fields,” John McCrae, 1872–1918