When the bells of Wells rang 111 times for Harry Patch.Byline: Lauren O'Hara
IT WAS by chance that we found ourselves arriving at 12.30pm in Britain's smallest city on Thursday. The streets were deserted save for a few stewards in florescent flo·res·cence
A condition, time, or period of flowering. See Synonyms at bloom1.
[New Latin fl yellow waistcoats obviously wondering if we were late. For, if we had arrived an hour earlier, we would have heard the ancient bells of the mediaeval me·di·ae·val
Variant of medieval.
same as medieval
Adj. 1. cathedral peal exactly 111 times. A ring for every year of the life of Harry Patch Henry John Patch (born June 17, 1898 in Combe Down, a village in Somerset, England) is, at the age of 109, the second-oldest living man in the UK and one of the last three surviving British veterans of the First World War still living in the country. : Britain's 'Last Tommy' and the only remaining survivor of the 'Great War' and its trenches.
But like my grandfather, and no doubt many men of his generation, he thought it neither great nor glorious. My grandfather refused to ever talk about his experiences, save to say that his memories were too painful and that too many kids had died for nothing. He, like Harry, had been part of the fighting fodder that lost 300,000 young lives only to gain five miles of Flanders fields
Flanders Fields is the generic name of the World War I battlefields in the medieval County of Flanders. .
Harry Patch was reluctantly seduced to speak about his 'war' by the BBC BBC
in full British Broadcasting Corp.
Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927. when they discovered he was one of the surviving few on a programme called 'Veterans' in 1998. He had, by then, become an ardent pacifist and was quoted as saying,' war isn't worth a single life'. It wasn't without poignancy that he chose the lines of the song made famous by Marlene Dietrich in his memorial service, 'When will they ever learn?'
Yet, as we drove in driving rain over the army ranges of Salisbury plain Salisbury Plain, undulating, mostly barren chalk plateau, c.300 sq mi (780 sq km), Wiltshire, S England. It is noted chiefly as the site of ancient monuments, of which Stonehenge is the most famous. The region is also an army training ground. away from the thousands gathered for his farewell last week, it felt little had changed. The radio reminded us of another teenager's death in Afghanistan and Harry's words written in his autobiography, "All those young lives lost in a war which ended across a table. Where's the sense in that?" came to haunt us.
At one hundred and eleven, Patch had not only seen his comrades, all those years ago, die but he had also outlived his own children. Recently, the Oxford base, Radiohead re-released their song written with his words in tribute, 'give your leaders each a gun and then let them fight it out themselves'. Naive, perhaps, but you felt Harry had earned the right to look back across the years Across The Years is one of a few ultrarunning festivals still taking place in the USA. Founded in 1983 by Harold Sieglaff the race has changed over the years in location as well as organisation. Today the race is held at Nardini Manor about 45 minutes from downtown Phoenix, AZ. and question the policies of politicians still so cavalier with young lives.
As the bell rang out last week across the lush English countryside, insistent note after insistent note, it was the words of John Donne that I remembered:
'Each man's death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls This article may contain original research or unverified claims.
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For Whom the Bell Tolls is a 1940 novel by Ernest Hemingway. , it tolls for thee.'
For, as the last post sounded for Harry, and the final voice from the soldiers of the 1918 trenches was silent, he made it clear that it was not poppies and pomp POMP
A drug used in cancer chemotherapy and composed of purinethol (6-mercaptopurine), Oncovin (vincristine sulfate), methotrexate, and prednisone. that he wanted, but assurance we could learn from our past and avoid needless young deaths again, that their sacrifice really could have been 'the war to end all wars'.
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