Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day and My Boy Jack

Veterans Day is an annual United States holiday honoring military veterans. A federal holiday, it is observed on November 11. It is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, falling on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.) ~Wikipedia

War has been featured prominently in many Hollywood films, often as an incidental backdrop or even as an incidental scene as in the Bruce Willis time travel insertion into the trenches in the film 13 Monkeys.

Here is a short list of other films which I've seen with World War I as a setting or theme.
Paths of Glory (Kubrick)... my all time favorite
The African Queen (Bogie and Kathryn Hepburn)
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Blue Max
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Iron Will (1993 Disney film about a dogsled race in which I "starred" as an extra, with Kevin Spacey)
My Boy Jack (Very powerful, sad)
Legends of the Fall (Impact of war on a family in Montana, starring Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt and Aidan Quinn)

My Boy Jack is a film about the impact of WWI on Rudyard Kipling after losing his son at the Battle of Loos. The film is based on the 1996 play by David Haig. Here is the poem by Kipling that served as catalyst for both play and film.

My Boy Jack

“Have you news of my boy Jack?”
Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind —
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

Rudyard Kipling, 1915

Today is a day to remember all of "our boys" who have served.


Draven Ames said...

I am glad to be the first to comment. Beautiful poem. I don't believe I have heard it. I love poetry and I'm a vet. Have a wonderful day and I hope to see more from you. I'm looking to network with fellow bloggers too, being new. Cool to meet you.

Draven Ames

ENNYMAN said...

Thanks for the comment. Yes, too few there are who appreciate poetry today.
I checked out your blog... keep it going.
Best to you