It’s a holiday but I am at work…

…however, it’s quiet, which is nice. This all said I will be taking a holiday here myself today, though later tonight or tomorrow I’ll have some random thoughts on that there new Indiana Jones movie, which I’m going to catch tonight after work, as hopefully things will have quieted down a bit. (Paying full price is its own pain but anyway.)

So some scattered links and observations for now:

  • Edward Lengel’s remarkable Washington Post piece about America’s World War I veterans — and how that war experience generally has been erased or reduced in terms of the public consciousness about veterans in general — is well worth a read on this day. To quote briefly from it:

    The war’s last and greatest battle involving U.S. soldiers, fought in the Meuse-Argonne region of eastern France during the autumn of 1918, sucked in more than 1 million U.S. troops and hundreds of airplanes and tanks. Artillery batteries commanded by men such as the young Harry S. Truman fired more than 4 million shells — more than the Union Army fired during the entire Civil War. More than 26,000 doughboys were killed and almost 100,000 wounded, making the clash probably the bloodiest single battle in U.S. history. But as far as the American public was concerned, it might as well never have taken place. “Veterans said to me in their speeches and in private that the American people did not know anything about the Meuse-Argonne battle,” Brig. Gen. Dennis Nolan wrote years later. “I have never understood why.”

  • Randomly thinking about this piece led me to dig up a four part series of posts on World War I as considered in various examples of the popular imagination I did for Freaky Trigger back in 2004, “Anthems.” Enjoyable enough still, I suppose, and they might be of interest on the day:

    Part 1 (on the book Tommy by Richard Holmes)
    Part 2 (on the original movie adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front)
    Part 3 (on World War I-themed songs by the Durutti Column, Mark Hollis and Piano Magic)
    Part 4 (concluding thoughts)

  • And speaking of old movie thoughts of mine, two more here, on The Rules of the Game and The Silence of the Lambs. Maybe interesting, maybe not!

Hope your day’s good.

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