Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What was it like to be fight in the Great War? Humanity's entire living memory of that experience resides within two minds.

The Last Two Veterans Of WWI | The Awl:

Claude Choules (image via The Awl)

With the recent deaths of Frank Buckles, John Babcock and Harry Patch, we are left with Claude Choules and Florence Green. (Upon learning this, Claude remarked: “Everything comes to those who wait and wait.”) Nearly 10,000,000 men were killed in the conflict, 65 million participated, and now we are left with two. Think about that. Think about those numbers. What are you supposed to do when an era is inches away from disappearing?

I remember when WWI veterans marched in Fourth of July parades when I was a kid. They were white-haired, wiry, and stooped with age back in mid-1970s, but they marched in a small group like pages out of history book brought to life, and now they are almost all gone.

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