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The official observances in France, were under rain. Indeed, the rains were heavy enough to repeatedly interfere with the satellite TV transmission signal back to C-SPAN. You see that in the multi-national ceremony and in President Trump’s address at a war memorial for Americans. The rain, and the disruption, is so appropriate to the commemoration of a war in which men lived in muddy trenches, never really dry, for years. Feet, constantly wet, started disintegrating. It was called “trench foot” and is called “immersion foot syndrome.” [Emphasis added.]
Trench foot, or immersion foot syndrome, is a serious condition that results from your feet being wet for too long. The condition first became known during World War I, when soldiers got trench foot from fighting in cold, wet conditions in trenches without the extra socks or boots to help keep their feet dry.
Trench foot killed an estimated 2,000 American and 75,000 British soldiers during WWI.
We all love a bright sunny day and want the soldiers, who must parade, to have a pleasant day, while we watch them at their best. We all enjoy images of Flanders Fields clothed in bright red poppies. Yet, this day, perhaps God laughed at mens’ plans, and maybe the heavens wept for the millions dead and maimed.
The bags across the soldiers’ chests, in the photographs below, contain their gas masks. The uneven terrain, in the second photograph, was the result of such intense and repeated artillery bombardment as to turn the face of the earth into that of a golf ball, completely dimpled. Today, the land, if not developed, is coated in green, but still shaped by shell holes, so deep and numerous as to not yet be erased by the passage of 100 years. So, the weather in France, on 11 November 2018, was perfect for the occasion.