Tag: WWI Centennial

“Must See” Movie: Peter Jackson vs. Ken Burns


https://static.wirtualnemedia.pl/media/top/Peter-Jackson-They-Shall-Not-Grow-Old.jpgMany thanks to Ricochet member @ejhill for alerting us in advance, from Britain, to the December US Fathom event showings of Peter Jackson’s World War I Centennial documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old. His review put the film on my “must see” list, @she provided a helpful reminder to the community on the first day of the December showings, and @eb provided a brief review. Viewing the film in 2D (it is also available in 3D) prompted reflections on renovation and invited contrast with other war documentaries. Ken Burns’ Vietnam War PBS series especially came to mind, starkly contrasting with Peter Jackson’s big screen documentary.

I respect EJ Hill’s technical assessment but have a slightly different view. Viewing the entire film in 2D, I cannot comment on any 3D issues. Aside from that disclaimer, I wholly endorse Peter Jackson’s vision and technical decisions. If you were turned off by Mortal Engines or soured at some point in the six episode Middle Earth franchise, know that all that money and technical talent has been harnessed to faithfully bring to life the Great War that was said to have inspired Tolkein’s stories.

The official They Shall Not Grow Old webpage sets out Peter Jackson’s vision:

Remembrance Day Weather: Rain in France


mediaThe 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. 

Retire the Colors


Tattered, frayed, a little moth-eaten, well used and well worn, it is time to retire our beloved family flag. I raised it in front of my house for the last time this morning.

Eliminating War?


Today is the 100th anniversary of the armistice, ending fighting in the Great War. It is the concluding centennial observance of a war that started in 1914, with the United States of American entering the war in 1917. Entering the war, there was talk of ending the threat of German militarism, ascendent since the Franco-Prussian War. In the face of the industrialized slaughter, the horror of the trenches, and with faith in man’s ability to mold more perfect institutions not yet confronted with the far larger horrors to come, people dreamed of a lasting peace. The phrase capturing these aspirations was “the war to end all wars.”

We see now, as the people, who first heard those words, knew by the 1930s, that the phase is as mockingly empty as the ancient cry, recorded in Genesis 11:4

“Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” (NIV)

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A Nameless Graveby Henry Wadsworth Longfellow “A Soldier of the Union mustered out,”Is the inscription on an unknown graveAt Newport News, beside the salt-sea wave,Nameless and dateless; sentinel or scoutShot down in skirmish, or disastrous routOf battle, when the loud artillery draveIts iron wedges through the ranks of braveAnd doomed battalions, storming the redoubt.Thou unknown […]

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In almost everything I have read about WWI, a recurrent theme is “How could we have known the horror to come?” That this was the first war of the modern age where tactics barely progressed from Napoleon met modern artillery and automatic weapons. That the resulting carnage could not have been anticipated. And this is […]

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A Call to Members: Commemorating the End of the Great War


WW1 Centennial (@WW1CC) | TwitterPlease forgive this very belated call from a fellow Ricochet member. I intend to write, marking the centennial of the Armistice of 11/11/1918. However, I am well aware that most of the burden of that terrible war, on the Allied side, was borne, in the meat grinder of the Western Front, by citizens of the British Empire, and the French Third Republic. We are barely aware of the Russians, the Italians, and even Japan.

So, fellow Ricochetti, I invite, I encourage your postings this weekend. Have you a family story? Photographs of a visit to a battlefield? Images from the home front, or the aftermath? Will you attend ceremonies, as a matter of annual observance or as a special centennial event?

Peter Jackson, of the Lord of the Rings movie fame, has produced an apparent masterpiece, They Shall Not Grow Old, taking actual footage, colorizing and adding the voices of the men who lived it. Is anyone attending a screening?