Today in War
It is a feature of our race and its history that, on any given day, one can sift downward through the sands of time and uncover, no very great way beneath the surface, a great mess of broken steel and broken bones. To look back upon all of the time and effort and knowledge and sheer irreplaceable life wasted on trying to make people die more quickly than they otherwise might have is to look back upon a wasteland of folly. Surely we are no great thing, whatever our divine parentage.
Still, as awful as war is, it’s also often awesome. Not just in the sense of inspiring awe, either; not just in that high, awful, numinous sense, as of a rolling thunderhead on the horizon. It’s also sometimes awesome in the modern parlance, containing as it does an inexhaustible amount of fascinating incident, acts of valour, heroic self-sacrifice, astounding turnabout, unforgettable personalities, and seemingly impossible achievements. Even virtues like comradeship and – incredibly – mercy find new scope on the field of battle.
The actual status of war probably lies somewhere on this spectrum, delimited on one end by “idiocy incarnate” and on the other by “best thing ever.” As chilling as this passage from McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is, I don’t know that it’s entirely wrong:
It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.
It is with this in mind that we might proceed with the following posts. I only began the series on an August 9th, so there’s a great deal that hasn’t yet been covered even if it certainly ought to be. I might write backwards as well as fowards a bit until I get to some more natural starting point (maybe July 28th, actually), but for the moment I’ll probably just take it one day at a time. Other posts I’ve already done on certain days will gradually get linked to here, too, to add spice to life as we move forward.
Enjoy, I guess.
Today in War…
June 18 – The Battle of Waterloo (1815)
[. . .]
August 12 – Against the Turks (various)
August 13 – Fall of Tenochtitlan (1521); Battle of Blenheim (1704) (coming soon)
August 14 – Coming someday
August 15 – Coming someday
[. . .]
October 1 – Nuremberg Trials Conclude (1946)
October 3 – Surrender of Vercingetorix (52 BC)
October 4 – Battle of Cable Street (1936)
October 8 – The Glory of Alvin York (1918)
October 10 – Battle of Tours (732)
October 11 – Death of Huldrych Zwingli (1531)
October 13 – Battle of Queenston Heights (1812)
October 15 – The Emperor Napoleon Arrives on St. Helena (1815)
October 21 – Battle of Trafalgar (1805)