Monday, March 9, 2009

This Sent Chills Up My Spine...

I was reading today that Britain's last surviving WWI veteran was made a member of the French Legion of Honor today. I found some video of his acceptance speech from the BBC, and I almost cried. I love to put up inspirational stories, and 110 year-old Harry Patch definitely qualifies.

Click here to watch.

In case you didn't understand him, I'm putting the full text of his remarks at the end of this post, but I have a few things to say first. With all of the focus historians put on WWII, the First World War tends to be forgotten...which is a real shame, considering that the last veterans are currently dying out (I think there are two left in the world) These men deserve every bit as much respect as those who fought thirty years later, and I'm glad to see that the few remaining survivors are getting some publicity. But what are we going to do when they're gone? I can't speak for Europe, but I do know that there is, in fact, a WWI memorial next to the Washington Mall - I stop by it every time I visit the memorials. It's tucked off to the side in a stand of trees; it's not well taken care of; and hardly anybody knows what it is. Technically, it's a local memorial to DC residents who died in WWI, but it's the closest thing we've let's at least take care of it. Maybe we could even take a few of those stimulus dollars and clean it up - maybe we could even install a sign to let people know it exists. Wikipedia says that there was a bill introduced last year to expand it and make it a national WWI memorial...I don't know how far that went, but kudos to Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) for the idea. And, lastly, to whoever left that single red rose there on Veterans Day, you're my hero.

Text of Harry Patch's remarks after being made a member of the French Legion of Honor:

"Now, but two of us remain at our post and the people of France, through their president, have honoured us once more by appointing us as Officers of the Legion of Honour."

"Ambassador, I greatly appreciate the way your people respect the memory of those who fell, irrespective of the uniform they wore.

"I will wear this medal with great pride and when I eventually rejoin my mates it will be displayed in my regimental museum as a permanent reminder of the kindness of the people of France."


  1. Thank you for reminding us all.
    Thank you, to all who fight for my freedom. I owe you much.

  2. My grandfather fought in WWI, serving in the Army as a cook. For years, all that the soldiers had to eat was potato soup, sometimes with onion. (I don't know how, but his soup had a wonderful taste!)
    Grandpa never spoke about what he saw or experienced during that war; he just shook his head and said, "It was hard."
    He was a very kind man who had a twinkle in his eye and a great sense of humor.
    When he was only in his early seventies, my grandfather was killed by a drunk driver. That still infuriates me.
    I'm glad the WWI veterans at least have this lovely, humble memorial in D.C. Our soldiers deserve our highest honor.

  3. adam i know you like world governments and elections so here is an interesting and scary situation in south africa.. i have a friend that lives there and these are her words.

    Our new Government will be instituted in 41 days. I truly need an urgent Novena to pray until then.

    We have 2 major parties: the ANC and COPE.

    If the ANC wins, Zuma has promised to bankrupt every non-Zulu in South Africa. We, as you can imagine, are not Zulus, and neither are any of the 15 million Zimbabweians that live here illegally [not their fault].

    There are only 3 million of us Dutch folks here, amongst 47 million Zulus. Zuma has also promised a war that will inialate every non-Zulu in the country. We are very afraid at the moment. Zuma declared all of this live on television about 2 weeks ago.

    COPE is an alliance of Zulus, Dutch, and non-Zulus that stand for what is right, and we have a Bishop in that party as well! But their chances of winning at this moment are big, so I am asking for your urgent prayers.

    A famous prophet in our country predicted all of our deaths via slaughter before his death in the early 1900s. He said that blood would flow in the streets like the Red Sea.

    I do not believe this, but, unfortunately, most of his other prophesies have come true, and now people here fear that this is the fulfillment of that prophecy.

  4. a lot of stuff happens in south africa that isn't reported correctly in the media. Apartheid was one of them. According to her it was a total deception.

  5. How blessed he is that his eyes are stll clear enough to read that off the teleprompter.

  6. I wrote a letter to Frank Buckles, the last surviving WWI vet in America, thanking him for his service. I also asked for an autograph thinking I wouldn't actually get one. Well he was kind enough to sign a card for me. I would suggest others write him a thank you card also, on behalf of a grateful nations.