Remembering WWI and the Somme
My friend Elizabeth sent me a link to the British Royal Legion shop. They are offering small poppy lapel pins and she knows that I do quite a bit of venerative work with the military dead. I have a particular interest/pull/focus on WWI.
Of course, I ordered two of the pins but then they just arrived and I opened the package about twenty minutes ago and I was leveled. I knew that this is a limited run of pins made from shell casings found on the Somme battlefield, with soil from the battlefield mixed into the pigment. I knew that there were only as many made as men who died the first day of this terrible battle. That would have made it a powerful offering in and of itself. When I opened the two boxes however, i realized that each pin is made in honor of a specific soldier who died during the Somme, with a memorial card included…to quote the British Royal Legion shop itself:
“The 1st July 2016 marks the 100th Anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. This day saw the heaviest loss of life in a single day in British Military history. These hand crafted solid brass lapel pins have been designed as a tribute to the 19,240 lives that were lost on 1st July 1916.”
My two pins are in honor of Lance Corporal J.E. Rowe of the Middlesex Regiment who died on July 1, 1916 (service humber L/13343) and Second Lieutenant H.C. Kenion of the Lancashire Fusiliers who also died on July 1, 1916 (service number…it doesn’t give his but says “cemetery commemorated at Serre Road Cemetery No.1). I have already ordered several more. I will be pouring out offerings and lighting candles and offering incense to these two soldiers tonight and they have places of honor on my shrine to the military dead.
I’m sharing this for any of you interested in honoring the military dead. We’re in the hundredth anniversary of WWI, a war that devastated Europe, wiped out nearly a generation of young men (and some women. I just learned that there were women who disguised themselves as Tommies to fight), and changed the face of the world…the psyche and attitudes of the world forever. It is important to remember.
May those who fought and died in this war be remembered.
May those who returned home carrying hell in their hearts, minds, and spirits be remembered.
Let us carry them with us.
May we never forget.