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Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I went to a place once on the Battlefield of the Somme, it was called the Sunken Road and lay just in front of the British Front lines the Morning of July 1st, 1916. The German yards were just a few hundred yards away on a ridge called Hawthorn where the Germans had built a strong hold of trenches, machine guns and fortifications. Often these were call redoubts. The British had tunneled under this particular strong hold on Hawthorn Ridge and blew a huge amount of explosives in a mine just before the general offensive began on that July Morning. It killed hundreds of Germans, literally blowing the whole fortification up in the air.

Of course like everything else that happened to the British at the Somme, this attack failed miserably, costing the British Troops (including Canadians, Aussies, Newfound-landers, New Zealander's, etc) 60,000 casualties in ONE DAY. The battle dragged on all Summer through the Fall until November when it petered out in the cold, wet mud of early Winter.

Anyway as I stood in that Sunken Road that had held troops shortly before they went over the top to storm the Hawthorn Redoubt shortly after the mine was detonated, I got the strangest feeling that I had been there before. I hadn't of course but when I was a boy I used to dream of trenches and rat's, gun powder and being buried alive. All realities during time in the trenches on the Western Front of the Great War.

It really sparked some weird revelations that perhaps...maybe, humans did live before. Honestly I never totally reconciled myself either way on reincarnation but it really did give me a different perspective on what those lads must have thought and felt.

One of the pictures above is a still shot taken of those troops as they waited in the Sunken Road that morning. Most of those boys shown in that picture only had 15 minutes to live. I've always wondered how you face that kind of fear. Faith? Sure I'm sure a lot of those fellows had taken communion with their chaplains prior to heading into the front lines a day or two before.

Or was it mindless obedience? I don't know...I know that right now I am faced with uncertainties about my health, about my future but facing it is natural because I have nothing to lose. Perhaps they felt so too...they were there...they had to go. Running to the rear meant being shot or arrested and sent back to the front.

I suppose this was just the way it was and they had to they did. I have always been fascinated with how we humans face the ultimate end for all of us in this life: death. I suppose I have always tried to look at it as a natural part of life. Of course there was a time in my life when I tried to take my own life but honestly my memories of that time are unclear and the thinking was not rational. I was drugged up all the time and trying to run from life.

Not sure why I'm writing this...I came across a picture of the Great War and it just got me thinking....

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