Three years ago I was talking to my friend Andrew Shearman
in London. He told me about his grandfather who died in
the Battle of the Somme.
Today the tragedy of that death
was brought home to me in a random way. I
was Googling “Tajikistan”
today (a possible future destination for the World Race) and of all things, up
popped a web site about World War I.
On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 20,000
British were killed and 38,000 were wounded or missing. 58,000 total, that’s about the same number as all the Americans who died
in Viet Nam. By the time the battle ended four months
later, over a million had been killed.
The tragedy is that the generals
drawing up strategy could have avoided the carnage if they had understood the
limits of artillery as a weapon. As a
consequence of their flawed assumption that artillery
would so soften up the
Germans that it would be a cake walk for the infantry, they sent wave after
wave of soldiers into a hailstorm of enemy bullets, Andrew’s grandfather among them.
The abstract was made personal
when I emailed Andrew the above link this morning and received this reply: “Oh my goodness Seth –
I was riveted. Yes my Grandfather was one of the dead in the Somme. Lions led by donkeys. Great article –
reminder that freedom is never free and that the price of freedom is
eternal vigilance. Spiritual freedom included.”
The price of our spiritual
freedom is eternal vigilance – that’s profound.
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