Der Tomissar yesterday titled a post with a song lyric from an Irish tune memorializing a young soldier who died in World War II. I know the song, since my dad is a big fan of Irish music, and I’ve been on the verge of tears ever since.
The song could not be more appropriate as a memorial on Veterans Day. I was out of town yesterday, so as my tribute I’m posting all the lyrics here.
THE GREEN FIELDS OF FRANCE
by Eric Bogle
Well how do you do Private William McBride,
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside?
And rest for awhile beneath the warm summer sun,
I’ve been walking all day and now I’m nearly done
I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916;
Well I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean,
Or, young Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?
Did they beat the drum slowly,
Did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound the Death March
As they lowered you down?
Did the band play
“The Last Post And Chorus?”
Did the pipes play
“The Flowers Of The Forest?”
Did you leave ‘ere a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined?
And although you died back in 1916,
In that faithful heart are you forever nineteen?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Enclosed forever behind a glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn, and battered and stained,
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame?
Ah the sun now it shines on these green fields of France,
The warm summer breeze makes the red poppies dance,
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds;
There’s no gas, no barbed wire, there’re no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard is still No Man’s Land,
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man’s blind indifference to his fellow man,
To a whole generation that was butchered and damned.
Ah, young Willie McBride, I can’t help wonder why,
Did all those who lay here really know why they died?
And did they believe when they answered the call,
Did they really believe that this war would end war?
For the sorrow, the suffering, the glory, the pain,
The killing and dying were all done in vain,
For, young Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again and again and again and again.