Posted on November 11, 2018, in Ancestor Work, Ancestors, Uncategorized and tagged Ancestor Work, Ancestors, military, Military dead, Veterans Day, WWI. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.
I learned that poem in the 8th grade, and had to go to various classrooms at my school to recite it, along with a friend of mine who learned “the other” poem that we were presented with as options to memorize and recite, which was more of an anti-war poem. I have had trouble remembering the final verse, though…and I think I know why: the idea of “failing hands” doesn’t sit well with me. To die in battle is not to fail, it’s to do what is required, and the idea that death is failure is such a modern one that doesn’t make sense in the context of a heroic or a warrior ethos (not that I uphold such, mind you, but I know about them at least!). I have always hated the thing one hears in cancer-related circles, of someone who dies of cancer “lost the fight,” etc. Yes, it is a battle (metaphorically), but to die in battle is not a loss or a failure, it’s just a rule and a consequence of the game involved which everyone involved in it knows from the start. But that gets into deeper things, certainly…It’s still a good poem, and a historically-important one! 😉
No, failing hands means hands that are losing strength since they are dying–
I don’t think your attempted correction of my interpretation changes the underlying point that I was making.
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