The Great Peace

Copyright C. E. Ayr

This challenge is produced by GirlieOnTheEdge with the following simple rules:
Write 6 Sentences. No more. No less.
Use the current week’s prompt word – ARMOUR

Please feel free to ignore this post as I have ignored the rules.
This piece is not Six Sentences, and does not include the prompt word.
Instead my words are dictated by today’s date.
I write about Armistice Day, l’Armistice, Volkstrauertag
, Remembrance Day and Veterans Day.

Copyright C. E. Ayr

Click here to hear the author read his words:

The Great Peace

The pain surprises me.
The rain falls steadily, but it is not the cause of the pain.
The wind blows briskly, but it is not the cause of the pain.

I look around the small cemetery, one out of around 940 in France and Belgium.
It is the cause of my pain.
It contains the graves of 1,262 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.
Think about that, just for a moment.

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

There were an estimated 16 million deaths in World War I.
We become immune to big numbers nowadays, so pause for a moment and think how many people today live in your town, your state, your country.
There are 5 million people in Scotland.
There were an estimated 16 million deaths in World War I.

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.

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30 Responses to The Great Peace

  1. Jules says:

    Sometimes it is good to ignore the rules.
    I new some men and women who served in WWII…
    Family in both the Navy, and Army.
    Two currently in the Army… They only share the good stuff.
    If there really is any good stuff to come out of any war…


  2. Norah says:

    That’s a powerful message. It gives me pause for thought.


  3. Charli Mills says:

    Your well-timed pauses in reading give space for the reader to ponder. I had to scroll back up and look at the photo of neatly arranged marble gravestones to consider the chronological order of death. It was chilling to re-examine the photo with that new insight. Perhaps we should ponder and pause before suggesting the next war. Perhaps the war industry who profits should have to pay for the marble tombstones and the care of those who come home unchanged. And yet, we also must give space to those who are our flocks’ sheepdogs. They are not sheep and they take on the wolves, real or manufactured. Thank you for sharing your poignant and pointed piece.


    • ceayr says:

      If my words give you pause for thought, then I am content, Charli.
      There is never any accusation in my words for those who fought, and died.
      And the side they were on was not chosen, but an accident of birth.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Chris Hall says:

    A stunningly thoughtful and moving piece. Bugger the rules. You brought the tears to my eyes too.


  5. suespitulnik says:

    Thank you for sharing the reality and helping others understand.


  6. This wouldn’t be so sad if we had at least learned something, just one little something, over the last 100 years. Or maybe we have? Maybe we learned that if we market madness in just the right way, and disguise reality behind a pretense of patriotism, that war and destruction, and the deaths of tens of millions and the ruined lives of hundreds of millions, is actually a pretty good thing. Powerful piece, C.E., and I wish I wouldn’t have read it.

    (I mean that last bit in a good way, not a bad way)

    Funny how we can’t live together but we have no problems dying together, eh?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. clark says:

    …good god, what is it good for
    absolutely nothin’

    Good ‘Six’

    * ‘War’ Whitfield and Strong (1970)


  8. Pat Brockett says:

    Your message is worth remembering. Thank you.


  9. Powerful piece and doubly sad because we go on letting our leaders drag us into these apocalypses.


  10. Excellent. My heart aches as we thank our Veterans today, for all those who never lived to be Veterans.


  11. trishsplace says:

    The Great War. Like it’s a celebration. Thoughtful words.


  12. Frank Hubeny says:

    You described northern France at that time well: “when men came from all parts of the planet to die here”


  13. Rules are made to broken. This piece deserves attention. A moving and thoughtful work. My serial Six this week takes place on Armistice Day, though is not about that ‘Great War’, I couldn’t help think of it today and the sacrifices made by many.
    Bravo pour les mots!


  14. UP says:

    wow! just wow! Very well done.


  15. jenne49 says:

    A piece that breaks the rules calls attention to the subject, just as that graveyard does, in particullar by the way the graves are laid out – the futility of war.
    Beutifully and piercingly written.
    ‘My subject is war and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity.’ Wilfred Owen

    Liked by 1 person

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