11-11-11 and Trump Stays Cozy

The End of World War One

Tomorrow at 11am will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war.

Historians remind us that the war was often fought with 19th-century tactics and 20th-century weapons meaning that troops were endlessly slaughtered by automatic machine gun fire or pulverized by long range artillery barrages, not to mention the use of poison gas on the battlefield.

Deaths counts were both massive and astonishing.

On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916, there were 19,240 soldiers killed in action, most of them before lunch, another 36,000 were wounded or missing.

Trench warfare, which was the de facto motif for much of the war, meant that opposing armies were locked in stationary positions for months, even years on end.

It’s easy to forget what that meant: excruciating and appalling living conditions.

Troops would often spend a week in a reserve position some distance behind the front trenches before then being rotated into relieve those on the point; those troops would then be sent to the rear for rest, refit and recuperation.

Front line trenches were horrendous: rat infested, often flooded with water from rains and usually collapsing under their own weight.

Soldiers walked (and lived) in several feet of water, they ate, slept and shat in the same confined space and lived in constant fear of sniper fire if they peered over the lip of the trench.

But it gets much, much, worse.

Tactical offensives by either side could mean that front line, and some second line trenches would change hands and that the terrain in between was littered with corpses which would often be buried in situ by burial parties during intermittent cease fires.

Renewed fighting, the repeated movement of trench lines and the damage from artillery rounds meant that previously buried corpses were constantly being unearthed, often having to be reburied multiple times, until sometimes the troops simply gave up.

Arms and legs of the dead might extend bizarrely above the ground or in a trench until they were removed or devoured by the millions of rats.

Getting to the trenches was no picnic either.

Several miles could separate the relative safety of the rear from the front.

Troop move-ups occurred at night, under pitch black conditions, so as to avoid sniper and shell fire.

Soldiers were weighed down with personal and battle gear, as well as ammunition and rations.

They traversed a treeless no-man’s land, riven with abandoned trenches, shell craters and gullies.

The ground was often slippery with mud and the path might be covered with duck boards to provide some semblance of a walkable surface.

Soldiers, unable to see, literally kept “in touch” in order to avoid a terrible fate:  hundreds of them slipped and fell into watery ditches, drowning under the weight of their gear, not even missed until a later roll call.

It is against the backdrop of their suffering that President Trump, as Commander-in-Chief, declines to visit the American Cemetery at Aisne-Marne while on his retreat to France.

The White House and press reports that, “An American delegation led by Chief of Staff General John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford will attend on their behalf.”

If they can get there, so can he.

Yes, inconvenience and even some tolerable risk might be borne but a crucial duty would be fulfilled: to honor their sacrifice at this moment in history.

As Trump once again takes a pass it is nothing more than another example of a man we now know so well, a man utterly unfit for the position he holds.

As if more examples were needed.







  • Dan Devlin says:

    Well told Eric.

  • Melissa James says:

    Give me a break. You sound like a left wing nut job who’s hate for the man raising up our Country, is more important to you than recognizing the fact we are having all the success we are having, thanks to President Trump. He will be in the EU meeting with work leaders for goodness sake. You are not in his shoes, so STOP judging & bashing him. I have family who served in Nam & they support President Trump. They want him to do what he needs to do to take down the Cabal that almost destroyed us, which is what he will be doing tomorrow. Smh

  • Melissa James says:

    World*** leaders

  • Melissa James says:

    I doubt you will post my comment bc it’s not a hate Trump comment. Keep sensoring us. Free speech is DEAD bc of the people who hate our President. Twitter, You Tube & Facebook all censor anyone who is on the conservative side. The RIGHT side. We are winning, which means you are losing. =) Light outshines darkness. Go chant your Hail Lucifer, bc in the meantime a I will be giving thanks to God Almighty =)

  • Larry says:

    Eric, spot on-I’m old enough that our next door neighbor while I was growing up had been a second Lieutenant in WWI, leading a platoon “over the top”. He was wounded in the legs, but the men behind him were wiped out. We learned it from his wife as he never talked about it. Your article is great. I would only add the criminal disregard the generals had for the lives of their men. Trump didn’t attend because he is a coward and it wasn’t about him. I am sure nobody missed him. If you haven’t seen it watch “Paths of Glory”. It is an early Stanley Kubrick film with Kirk Douglas {his best film}. I hope you get to the old battlefields.

  • Miguel says:

    Maybe you would rather see someone familiar in office

  • Victoria Huckenpahler says:

    Nancy Pelosi has said that Donald Trump is not in any way worthy of the office he holds…and she is so right. Now, he’s going to have to deal with her…which I find both amusing and apt. My own grandfather fought in WWI, and was never right thereafter, dying shortly after I was born. I believe today he would be diagnosed with PTSD. I still proudly display his Purple Heart on my wall. I was also moved, on my many visits to France, to see the reverence in which soldiers from that conflict are still held. Practically any church you visit in Paris holds some plaque commemorating the terrible losses. Trump is a disgrace to our nation.

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