Veterans Days 2019: Dulce et Decorum est, a tradition continues | Monday Morning Coffee

November 11, 2019 7:06 am

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Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

It’s Veterans Day this Monday morning in Pennsylvania and across the nation. And unlike Memorial Day, which is a solemn pause to honor those who have fallen, today is a day to pay tribute to those among us who have stepped up to serve the nation in times of war — and in times of peace.

And while some may try to claim that patriotism or the call to service is the province of one political party, the truth is that those of every creed, ethnicity, nationality, race and, yes, political party, have worn the uniform of the United States military. And some have given their lives in the service of that cause. All blood, after all, runs red — no matter what you believe or, as the case may be, what you don’t.

In the United Kingdom and elsewhere, today is known as Armistice Day, a day marking the end of World War I in 1918. It was a war, some believed at the time, that was to have ended all wars. That turned out not to be what happened. But the belief endures.

So, as we have every year since 2005, when this blog began life as Capitol Ideas at the Morning Call of Allentown, we’re reprinting one of the essential artifacts of that conflict: Dulce et Decorum Est,’ by the English trench poet, Wilfred Owen.

The poem is a reminder of war in all its futility. It’s a testament to those who served. And it’s a prayer that we might never have to fight again. To those among you who served, thank you from all of us at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

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Dulce et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.*

(*This Latin phrase is from the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”)

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Our Stuff.
Capital-Star Washington Reporter Allison Stevens 
leads our coverage this morning, previewing oral arguments on the DACA cases to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune have what you need to know about a new study concluding that Philly shoppers have borne the brunt of the city’s soda tax — and they’re buying fewer sugary drinks as a result.

From the weekend, Stephen Caruso has the story on a $5 million program that Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law last week. It’ll provide money to beef up security at mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship.

From our partners at the Central Voice, an admonition: Taking charge of your HIV is critical. Here’s what to know, and what to do about it.

On our Commentary Page, Opinion regular Dick Polman marvels at Republicans who continue to tether themselves to a ‘toxic’ president.  For Veterans Day, a retired Navy vice admiral says Pennsylvania needs to put more money into public and early childhood education, arguing it’s the best way to make sure that the nation is kept safe into the next generation. And here’s one from our colleague, Susan Demas, of our sister site, the Michigan Advance, who says that when it comes to President Donald Trumpthe brazenness is the point.

Y en la Estrella-Capital¿Es buena idea compartir fotos de nuestros hijos en las redes sociales? | Opinion; A medida que los suburbios se realinean, los demócratas tienen una victoria – si la pueden mantener, por John L. Micek. El alcalde de Filadelfia y la asamblea están de acuerdo sobre el dinero contra la violencia de armas de fuego, por John N. Mitchell de Tribune de Filadelfia¿Será el último moderado que queda? Republicanos de los suburbios tomaron vida después de DiGirolamo, por Stephen Caruso.

Love Park in Philadelphia (Photo via Flickr Commons)

Facing a federal indictment, Philly Councilman Bobby Henon also has two challengers for council majority leader, the Inquirer reports.
Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is feeling ‘confident’ as her trial starts in Detroit, the Post-Gazette reports.
In a suburban Allentown community, a high-stakes meeting could help determine what happens to development, open space and other issues, the Morning Call reports.
PennLive looks at PennNational’s emergence as a national player on the casino scene.

Here’s your #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day:

WHYY-FM brings you inside a community training session for 2020 Census workers.
The PA Post takes a deeper look at voting machine problems on Election Day.
Four Democratic women elected officials from southeastern PennsylvaniaSen. Katie Muth, D-Montgomery; state Reps. Danielle Friel-Otten, D-Chester; Leanne Krueger, D-Delaware, and Philadelphia City Councilmember-elect Jamie Gauthie are all backing U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, PoliticsPA reports. ponders what state attorneys general are ‘really gunning for’ when they take on a national fight.
The U.S. Interior Department is about to close a deal with a company that used to employ the agency’s current secretary as a lobbyist, Roll Call reports.
Politico explains why former Veep Joe Biden is ‘crushing it’ nationally, but seeing his support slip in Iowa and New Hampshire.

What Goes On.
The House and Senate are both out until Nov. 18. Today is Veterans Day. Take a moment to thank a veteran, if you haven’t done so already.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Candy Woodall, 
of the York Daily Record; Morning Call Washington reporter Laura Olson, longtime Friend O’the BlogDavid Kemper, of Harrisburg, and Chris Nallan, of AccuWeather, all of whom celebrate today. Congrats and enjoy the day, friends.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s one befitting the day. From Aussie rockers Midnight Oil, it’s ‘Forgotten Years.’

Monday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Chicago hung on to beat the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 at home at the United Center on Sunday night.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.