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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Over There.

Richard Rubin is wrong (Over There -- and Gone for Ever, New York Times, November 12, 2007). They are not gone for ever.

Even though my father never talked about his experiences in the First World War, I remember and honor him to this day. He emigrated from Wales to New South Wales in June of 1914. He returned to fight in the trenches on the Western front; he was gassed on the Somme in 1917, recovered and returned to the front in 1918 where he served until the Armistice. He was repatriated to Australia in 1919. He was not demobilized until New Years Day 1920, and returned to Wales shortly afterwards.

Much of this I found out when I saw his service records at the Australian archives and read about his unit's activities at the Australian National War Museum.

Like his colleagues who died in battle, his life was shortened by his war experiences. Of him like them, we may say with Lawrence Binyon (To the Dead):

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Sent to the New York Times

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