Wednesday, November 16, 2022

November 11th Has Passed By But...Lest We Forget


I'm not meaning to be a Debbie Downer (sorry to all the wonderful Debbies out there and...where did that quote come from??) but I have to mention some great songs about the 2 world wars. I actually had a great weekend...not working until Wednesday and off Friday for my work's Christmas party which should be fun. My friend V.J. came to visit me Friday night and left today, Tuesday so I have lost so much and need to catch up. Anyways, I gave a little thought to my mom and dad who both experienced the war but my mom as a German kid and teen and my dad as a Canadian soldier. I thought of my 2 uncles, my mom's brothers whom I never met-one was 19 and the other a little over 1 yr old. Uncle Kurt died on June 30, 1945, along with 178 other German soldiers, all of their "wounds" as told to the families by the Russians. The only soldiers left in the hospital were Russians and my Uncle's body was bull-dozed into a pit. The Nazis did horrific things as well as some Germans....but not all. We better never forget all the atrocities or they will be repeated..just look at what is happening now in the Ukraine. not hate All Russians as they should not be white-washed like the German people have been. Anyways, here are my 3 choices for this week.


This is a very moving song originally written and performed by John McCutcheon (you can listen to his version here...I hope) in 1984. He wrote based on the very famous truce between the Brits and Germans on Christmas Eve in 1914. The Allies could hear the German soldiers sing Silent Night and they started to sing too. The German soldiers gestured to meet in No Man's land and they did! They shared Christmas songs and gave each other gifts of food or whatever they had handy and even played Football, called Soccer for us folks. McCutcheon met some of the German men who came to his concert and heard this song. John McDermott, A great Canadian/Scottish tenor often comes to my little city and my ex and I brought my mom and my in-laws to hear him sing. He speaks very highly of all soldiers from all wars and sings many songs that people from war can relate to. My mom and my in-laws met John and i have a picture of my mom with John McDermott. I have to find it.


The great Vera Lynn died, in 2020, at the age of 103 with her wits still with her. She just did a collaboration with Katherine Jenkins (you can here it here..again, I hope) on this song giving the torch to Ms. Jenkins who must have been just tickled pink. This song was written by Walter Kent in 1941 when the British were fighting the war and won the air overhead made famous as The Battle of Britain (1940). This win, that the British soldiers thought they would never win, helped change the course of the war (one of many, thankfully).  


I heard about Chris DeBurgh when I was a teen and bought his very famous record. "Spanish Train" and this song was on this record and it made me cry. I started to read up about Passchendaele and found that this battle put Canada on the map as a great nation. When, in 1917, the British, Australians and New Zealanders could not take the ridge, we were sent in and, despite heavy rain, mud and less troops with heavy casualties (almost 16,000 Canadians died), The Canadians took the ridge but...for what? This Irish folk singer really knew how to write about this battle. 

Can you think of any songs that make you think..."Lest We Forget?"


  1. Hi, Birgit!

    It must hurt your heart something terrible knowing that your uncle was bulldozed into a pit like trash at a landfill. Oh, the horror and disgrace of war!

    Where have all the flowers gone?
    When will they ever learn?

    I enjoyed the song about a Christmas Eve truce in the trenches. Seems to me that if soldiers can lay down their weapons, meet on friendly soil and share gifts and good will, then the power hungry warmongers who forced them onto the battlefield in the first place could learn to do the same - set aside hate and negotiate.

    Over the years, I have heard many renditions of "The White Cliffs Of Dover." This one by songstress Vera Lynn is lovely. I am happy to know she enjoyed a long life and died a centenarian in possession of her faculties.

    I know Chris de Burgh from his mid 80s chart-topper "The Lady In Red." Thanks for sharing "This Song For You," released a decade earlier on Chris's album Spanish Train and Other Stories. I can understand how the song brought tears to your eyes, because it had the same effect on me.

    The only song I can think of is the one I referenced earlier, the one that poses the rhetorical question "Where Have All The Flowers Gone," composed in 1955 by folk-singer and social activist Pete Seeger. The song was nicely covered in the mid 60s by Johnny Rivers.

    Enjoy your Wednesday, dear friend BB. I'll be waiting for you tamale in the balcony-- "At The Movies!"

  2. War is just awful. I'm so sorry that happened to your uncle.

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