East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

One hundred years


Yesterday I saw this on the Facebook page of musician Richard Thompson.


Very moving tribute on the anniversary of The Battle Of The Somme, enacted all over Britain.Participants dressed in WW1 uniforms, standing or sitting quietly. If spoken to, they hand you a card that says their, name, rank, and when they were killed. Photo is from King Cross Station today.

I shared it, because I too found the idea very moving, and it reminded me of a song.
But we’ll talk later of the song.
Fact is, a friend commented on my shared photo – how the men in the picture do not look “from the past” at all. It’s not like they are wearing armor or what, and yet it’s been all of one hundred years.

Which I found weird, as an observation, because to me it feels sort of like the other way around – these guys look so modern because they are modern, and because the Great War was fought barely one hundred years ago.
The Second World War ended just twenty-two years before I was born – and that’s really nothing.
Both my parents were born during WW2.
My grandfather fought in the Great War, in the Italian Alpini corps – he was a kid of 18, and his first post was with a burial squad: they would meet the trains carrying the victims back from the front lines, and bury them. My grandfather was born in the 19th century.

So, maybe it’s the old age slowly crawling upon me, because once it was not like this, but truth to be told, 100 years suddenly don’t look that long to me anymore.

But it’s been 100 years from the Battle of the Somme, and we should be silent for a moment in memory of those kids that were our grandfathers – or their brothers.

Oh, yes, and that song I was telling you about…


Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

4 thoughts on “One hundred years

  1. many thousands dead and more maimed in the blink of an eye. for what? to see some mother’s son.


  2. This past is not past. We live in the world the Great War created. Its ghosts are unlaid and still very much with us. I think this is a wonderful and profound tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always thought compassion for all those young men should be the foundation of our European Union – we should get the thing working in their memory, and for our own future.
      But you think the politicians would listen to me? Ah!


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