Wednesday will be a year since I started this blog, but it’s already been a couple weeks since the first terrifying memories surfaced.
Before that day, I hadn’t really given much thought to the Great War. It was a long ago tragedy that seemed to have very little to do with me aside from being one more step toward the troubled world we live in now. I hadn’t done any research into it, and most of what I knew came from movies and from the memoirs of Eddie Rickenbacker; obviously, my bias was toward aviation and I knew very little about the life of an infantryman other than it was nastier, more brutish, and shorter than a 13th century soldier’s life on those same fields.
I’m not the same after that experience. I’m still recovering from it and frankly, it’s slow going. Over the last year I’ve gained more perspective than I had ever bargained for and when you understand what it’s like to watch others die while anxiously waiting your turn, life seems so frighteningly tenuous.
More than that, I’ve given a voice to someone who really needed it, a Somerset farm boy who never married, never made it beyond Private, and died violently at 38 with only scant records of his ever having existed.
I am overwhelmed by John’s memories, but I hope I can be worthy to link myself in any way with this unlucky but remarkably brave man and come to terms with what I saw- what he saw- on the battlefield more than 98 years ago.
Aucto Splendore Resurgo