Monday, January 21, 2008

Another World War I veteran dies in France

One of the two remaining veterans of WW1 has died at age 110. It's a ripe old age for one who endured the horrors of war. I respect his feelings about not accepting medals and honours. So many died, so many young men died... and for what? The "war to end all wars" has become just one of many. There is so much death and destruction happening in so many countries in the name of something or other. Has any good come out of any of the battles? Maybe. But at what cost? We talk about having evolved from the apes. However, if that were the case how come we seem to be devolving not evolving in kindness, goodness, love and peace?
I am thankful for those who endured so much to deal with the megalomaniacs whose inflated view of their own importance has taken us on such a costly journey over tha past 100 yrs.

France's oldest man dies, one World War One survivor left - World -
France's oldest man dies, one World War One survivor left
France's oldest man, a First World War veteran who refused a medal and spoke powerfully about the horrors of war, has died at 110, leaving just one veteran alive from the conflict.
Louis de Cazenave died at his home in the Auvergne region in central France on Sunday, the government said.
President Nicolas Sarkozy called his death a reminder of the 1.4 million French who had lost their lives in the 1914-18 war.
Cazenave survived both the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and the Second Battle of the Aisne a year later, two of the bloodiest episodes of the "war to end all wars".
Born in October 1897, de Cazenave became an infrantryman in 1916 and retired in 1941. He refused a military decoration but was eventually awarded the civilian Legion of Honour in 1999.
"Some of my comrades weren't even given a wooden cross," he told Le Monde newspaper in 2005.
Recalling events etched into his mind 88 years earlier, he gave a grim account of the offensive on German positions along the river Aisne which caused about 350,000 French and German deaths and led afterwards to a partial French mutiny.
"You should have heard the wounded between the lines. They called out to their mothers, begged us to go finish them off," he told Le Monde.
"We found the Germans when we went to get water at the well.
We spoke to them. They were just like us; they had had enough."
He described patriotism as "a way of making people swallow anything" and war as absurd and useless. "Nothing can justify it, nothing," he said.
The last surviving "beardy," the nickname given in France to First World War veterans because of conditions in the trenches, is now Lazare Ponticelli, 110.
He has refused an offer of a state funeral, saying it would show disrespect to war victims who never got the same honour.


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