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Posted 02 March 2011 - 10:20 AM
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Posted 02 March 2011 - 11:43 AM
Posted 06 March 2011 - 03:50 PM
“One of the things that any military does is honour its fallen,” said Brink, a former commanding officer of the regiment. “And regardless of when the soldier was killed, we want to make sure we treat that person with the same dignity and respect as we would a soldier who was lost in Afghanistan. When a member of your regiment is buried, it’s always a major event for the unit.”
What this means for the French, one feels when one sees the visits of French soldiers' friends to their graves. The other day a French woman in deep mourning came here with a handful of white flowers to place upon one of these. Probably it was her son's, for she was not young. While she was arranging them at its head, there came into the cemetery one of the usual little bareheaded processions — a N.C.O. showing the way ; then an English chaplain with his open book ; then, on a stretcher, the body sewn up in a brown army blanket, a big Union Jack lying over it ; then half a dozen privates looking as Englishmen do at these moments — a little awkward, but simply and sincerely sorry. As they passed the French woman she rose and then, evidently moved by some impulse which shyness made it difficult to follow, fell in at the rear of the procession, with some of the flowers still in her hand. When I next saw them, the men were standing round the new grave, the chaplain was reading aloud, "dust to dust" and "ashes to ashes," and the woman, a few yards away, was kneeling on the ground. The service over, and the rest turning away, she came close to the grave, dropped the white flowers in, and went back to the other grave empty handed.
One knew, though the woman could not, how all this would be told to the dead Englishman's comrades ; and one felt the truth of Sir Douglas Haig's saying, that a kind of work which "does not directly contribute to the successful termination of the war" may still "have an extraordinary moral value to the troops in the field, as well as to the relatives and friends of the dead at home."
Posted 07 March 2011 - 01:56 PM
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Posted 09 April 2011 - 09:31 PM