The Great Peace – Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by the wonderful Rochelle, the undisputed master of what I call Sound Bite Fiction.
She sets the weekly challenge, and the standard.
I am travelling again this week, so have very limited time.
But, given today’s date, and the poignant photo by J Hardy Carroll, I felt I wanted to contribute.
This is a piece previously posted on another of my blogs.
It is overly long for this challenge.
And it is not fiction.
So I understand absolutely if any reader chooses to ignore it.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on the picture, below. 

Copyright J Hardy Carroll

Copyright J Hardy Carroll

The Great Peace

The pain surprises me.
The rain falls steadily, but is not the cause of the pain.
The wind blows briskly, but is not the cause of the pain.
I look around the small, tranquil cemetery, one out of around 940 in France and Belgium.
It is the cause of my pain.
It contains the graves of 1262 British, 4 Canadian and 29 German soldiers and airmen.
There is no segregation by rank or nationality, and each grave is immaculately tended.
They are arranged in chronological order of death.

The peace is in sharp contrast to those bloody days 100 years ago.
The days when this part of Northern France was the world’s battlefield, bringing men from all parts of the planet to die here.

The Great War.
I almost smile at the oxymoron.
But find I cannot.
Because of the tears in my eyes and the lump in my throat.

the unknown soldier by c e ayr

the unknown soldier by c e ayr

About ceayr

A Scot who has discovered Paradise in a small town he calls Medville on the Côte d'Azur, C.E. Ayr has spent a large part of his life in the West of Scotland and a large part elsewhere. His first job was selling programmes at his local football club and he has since tried 73 other career paths, the longest being in IT, with varying degrees of success. He is somewhat nomadic, fairly irresponsible and, according to his darling daughter, a bit random.
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61 Responses to The Great Peace – Friday Fictioneers

  1. Lovely tribute to the soldiers, known and unknown, who died in WWI. I think it was called the Great War because no one could believe there would be another one like it. It was that terrible. It’s so hard to imagine these soldiers climbing out of trenches right into the enemy fire. No wonder so many died. They were also poisoned by gas, another horrible weapon in use at the time. It’s no wonder tears still come to our eyes thinking of it and other wars. Well written C.E. — Suzanne

    Like

  2. gahlearner says:

    Beautiful, moving, and so true. Adds to the lump in my throat.

    Like

  3. My childish heart still aches for the reality of this story, and the long dead wish that something will changed. After yesterday, it all feels so bleak. So many graves, C. E. and so little change. Nothing great about it.

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  4. Margaret says:

    Such sights as you describe so poignantly in your piece serve to remind us of the depths to which the human race can sink. We should all cry.

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  5. Vinay Leo R. says:

    Sad that he stays unknown. Hope he found peace, that unknown soldier, and his family too.

    Leo @ I Rhyme Without Reason

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  6. A beautiful tribute!
    C. I think you could delete both of these “. . .but is not the cause of the pain.” & even the sentence “It is the cause of my pain.”
    Let the story say it without saying it, because your last sentence really says it all!
    Either way it’s lovely!

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  7. You are right there is no “Great War.” They all leave scars which refuse to heal. Someday though I believe we shall all beat our swords into plowshares.

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  8. Beautifully done. The war to end all wars. Never going to be true.

    Like

  9. rgayer55 says:

    I agree with What’s-her-name. Here in the states a lot is made of the American (un)Civil War and WWII, but very little about “The Great War.” I did watch a documentary on it recently and found it very eye opening. Trench warfare, mustard gas, and disease. And 30 years later and the players came back for a sequel. How insane.

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  10. liz young says:

    What brings a lump to me throat is the youth of the fallen.

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  11. liz young says:

    What brings a lump to my throat is the age of the fallen. So young.

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  12. Beautifully done, a very touching tribute.

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  13. Very moving and appropriate. Those cemeteries in France certainly are sobering and I’m saddened that this war to end all wars didn’t achieve what those brave people who fought had hoped for.

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  14. Everyone else has hit the fine points of this piece so just let me say “Beautiful.” Oh, and Thank you.

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  15. I like the idea of their being no distinctions among the fallen. War after all is started by governments but littered with the souls of individual sons, sisters, brothers and fathers. It’s difficult to remember that at times. Thank you.
    Tracey

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  16. ansumani says:

    Nothing is forms lumps in the throat like an unmarked grave…never knowing where your loved one rests can be the ultimate torture that war perpetuates. Beautifully written.

    Like

  17. joannesisco says:

    You captured exactly my reaction while visiting a war cemetery in Belguim so many years ago … a sea of white crosses.

    This was very powerfully written and triggered those memories from so long ago.

    Like

  18. Corina says:

    Very nicely done. I will read it several times more throughout the day. It’s worth many reads.

    Like

  19. EagleAye says:

    Very touching and poignant. It makes me pause to think and reflect as I should. Brilliantly written.

    Like

  20. This is a very emotive piece. The words ‘known to God’ will stay on my mind.

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  21. JS Brand says:

    Powerful stuff ceayr.

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  22. jellico84 says:

    A wonderful Tribute. My father lies somewhere in the jungles of Vietnam to this day. Someday, maybe he will come home.

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  23. Moving piece. Lest we forget – that war and those waging today.

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  24. Dale says:

    Beautifully written. I hate to think of how many graves bear no names.
    Oh? Did you go over? Like the others, I noticed not.

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  25. Sandra says:

    Like you probably, we regularly drive through the battlefields, cemeteries and war memorials of Northern France. It seems to me that every town and village, no matter how small has some kind of memorial to the fallen. Is it my imagination that so much more is made of remembrance in France? Beautifully done – I can identify with the sentiments.

    Like

  26. This is so moving. I didn’t notice the length – I was too wrapped up in your words.

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  27. micklively says:

    The war to end wars. Ironic, isn’t it?

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  28. Dear CE,

    Overly long? Not that I noticed. Appropriate for the prompt. With a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye I say well done. Safe travels, my friend.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

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