Blawg Review

It's not just a blog carnival; it's the law! ~ a fool in the forest

Lest We Forget

Charon QC has a poppy on his law blog's header today in memory of the war dead.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

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.
— John McCrae
While it's Veterans Day in the USA, November 11th is Armistice Day in France and New Zealand, and Remembrance Day in the UK and other countries of the British Commonwealth, including Canada and Australia, where the day is devoted to remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their countries in time of war, as Americans do on Memorial Day.

As in previous years, on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, we take a pause in our regular blogging duties at Blawg Review to thank those who served and honor those who gave so much on our behalf.
The words "Lest We Forget" form the refrain of "Recessional" [a poem by Rudyard Kipling]. The phrase became popular as a warning about the perils of hubris and the inevitable decline of imperial power.

To Kipling, the Empire is very much alive, he was a devout imperialist. The history of western Christendom shows a recurrent pattern. When nations rise to wealth and power they are inclined to forget their God. The understanding was that it was Divine Providence who brought them the material and spiritual blessings that nurtured them into a position of greatness among the nations.

Here are the telling lines of Rudyard Kipling's poem. The line "that we will not forget" says it was the Christian God who enabled the British to be the empire they then were; written for the queen's jubilee, this refers to her title of defender of the faith and, in essence the burden to rule over the less privileged.
Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet.
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
The phrase later passed into common usage after the World War I, becoming linked with Remembrance Day observations; it came to be a plea not to forget past sacrifices, and was often found as the only wording on war memorials, or used as an epitaph.