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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori - 2006

War Is Hell.
General William Tecumsah Sherman. (Obsrvation in a Letter, 1864)

Every year, Porcupine pauses to thank the men and women of our Armed Services for their work in saveguarding our Nation and our Lives. As time has gone on, the profession of Soldier and Sailor have been increasingly denigrated by Porcupine's old friends, Those Who Know Better and Best. For instance, this year in Worcester there will be no Veteran's Day Parade, as city officials have explained that lack of attendance and the age of the veterans make such a display untenable. This sort of thing must be hard to understand for the young troops currently serving, who had no idea that they were so antique as to be eliminated.

The sneering of elites at fighting men and women is not new. Our own Sen. Kerry's grudging apology stems in part from a conviction that he was speaking the truth - nobody who is not of the military caste or too dumb to find work elsewhere would go and slog and fight. This is not a new attitude on the part of the wealthy; after all, most soldiers in the Civil War were just men who didn't have the $300 to buy a substitute.

We are different sort of war now, one much closer to our own Revolution, with no formal troops and little possibility of a formal surrender which would create an Armistice Day to be celebrated. As a tribute to those who have chosen to serve, Porcupine shares the words of a much more talented writer, Rudyard Kipling, and his commentary 'Tommy' upon the attitude of an ugrateful society towards fighting forces, written over 100 years ago. Please, if you have the chance today, thank a veteran for their services.

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

For a link to Porcupine's favorite military poetry, please click HERE

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter,

Just wondering. Were you ever in the military?

3:59 PM  
Blogger Peter Porcupine said...

I could not pass a military physical, as I am an epileptic. However, my father, brother and child all were.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations. Anybody in Iraq?

I generally liked your post, but am intrigued by this:

Our own Sen. Kerry's grudging apology stems in part from a conviction that he was speaking the truth - nobody who is not of the military caste or too dumb to find work elsewhere would go and slog and fight.

I'm impressed that you're either able to read Mr. Kerry's mind or that he's confided his motivations to you.

Doesn't the fact that he himself enlisted contradict your argument, in any case?

9:16 PM  
Blogger lee said...

Mr. Porcupine,
Kerry doesn't matter, it's not about him. What matters is bringing our soldiers home as fast as we can. They needed to be home yesterday.

9:25 PM  
Blogger marci said...

John Kerry is carping the mantra of the late sixties and early seventies in which it was said that the Vietnam War was fought by the underpriveled. That was repudiated soundly, but the myth persists in John Kerry's delusional state of mind. Kerry was of that group of newly minted officer reserves--all college, no brain--that was jeopardizing the troops in Vietnam and it was of his ilk that the term "fragging" came about. I think this country is lumbering under a version of Steele's "white guilt" in "draft avoiders' or reserve officers' guilt," and its warping their vision and likely to get us all killed. Kerry's delusions are playing to that crowd. Where are the psychiatrists?

2:25 PM  

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