"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Canadian Army Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918), was dissatisfied with this poem and tossed it away, but it was retrieved by a fellow officer who sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on Dec. 8, 1915.
The Boston Herald's Jules Crittenden draws on interviews with veterans of the 1965 Battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam and his own experiences as a reporter embedded with a tank company in Iraq in a review of a book on Waterloo.
In one of our late night conversations about combat, about the gut memories that remain, one of the old Ia Drang vets said, 'I'll never forget the order to fix bayonets. I couldn't believe it. I thought the lieutenant was out of his fucking mind.' This was not the most intense of his experiences. He wears an eyepatch because there wasn't enough of his eyesocket left to hold a glass eye after the North Vietnamese came through finishing off the wounded when his platoon was overrun at the Ia Drang. But that was later, and he still remembers the gut feeling of the order to fix bayonets, leaving cover and moving forward into fire. 'I still don't know how I did it,' he says.
It is a common refrain among old soldiers. Barbero quotes Sgt. William Lawrence of the 40th Foot, on being ordered to bear the regimental colours.
"This, although I was used to warfare as much as any, was a job I did not at all like: but I still went as boldly to work as I could. There had been before me that day 14 sergeants already killed and wounded while in charge of these Colours and officers in proportion... This job will never be blotted from my memory; although I am now an old man, I remember it as if it had been yesterday. I had not been there more than a quarter of an hour when a cannon-shot came and took the captain's head clean off. This was again close to me, for my left side was touching the captain's right, and I was spattered all over with his blood. The men in their tired state began to despair, but the officers cheered them on continually throughout the day with the cry of 'Keep your ground, my men!' It is a mystery to me how it was accomplished, for at last there were so few left that there was scarcely enough to form a square."
It's nearly 200 years, but that's not so much time. It could be yesterday.