In the hour just before dawn the troops assemble. The cavalry horses line up , side by side, they snort and paw, their riders give them a reassuring pat. “Whoa now son,” one says. “We’ll be on to victory in a minute.” In his heart he knew that they could well be on to their death or worse but he did not want his brave horse to know that.
“Steady now.” The Commander used a low voice. The sun was just about to rise over the field. The farmer’s field that only a few months ago had grown wheat. Now the wheat was gone. Now it was to be the field of battle.
One horse begins to paw the ground anxiously. The foot soldiers are lining up behind them. And then……the sun rises above the morning mist. The standard bearer sits taller in his saddle. The drum roll. The bugle . The standard is raised. The command.
The thundering hooves, the battle cries, the sound of the bugle and from behind the drummer beating out the march forward. The mist begins to clear and that is when they see them. The cannon. The enemy cannon just at the edge of the forest.
Well, dear readers, we all know what happens next: chaos, confusion, death ,destruction, horses, riders, foot soldiers, the good guys, the bad guys, the blood soaked field, no wheat there now.
Those battles portrayed so gloriously ,and so incorrectly, in the movies are long gone. Now war is a very different matter. There are no lines of battle, no assembling of troops to await the dawn, and no more cavalry horses. Lucky horses to be spared modern warfare. Now battles happen in supposed safe zones, on the streets and in the marketplaces , even in schools and hospitals. Now the civilian casualties outnumber the military casualties. The soldiers wear desert camo not the bright uniform colors of old. No time for glory now.
The kid walking toward the soldiers is carrying a basket ball. Or is it a bomb? Who is the enemy? The lines of battle are so ill defined . It is so hard to tell what is and what is not.
On Remembrance Day we “remember” those who have fought for us. Fought to protect us. Fought to defend our way of life. Fought to defeat our enemy. An enemy that a few years down the road may be our ally. It is so hard to tell what is and what is not.On Remembrance Day I see survivors of WWII who are now quite elderly. Where are those who served and survived in recent wars? I want to see more of them at the cenotaphs and on the TV. I think we need to be reminded that we are creating veterans every day. Every day. Now. Not just in the past.
For the past week I have been remembering horses involved in war: the Napoleonic Wars, The American Civil War, the Korean War. Today there are no more horses involved in war.
But wait a minute…..
In July 1982 horses fell victims of terrorism. The “modern” war took them down. The unseen assailant who kills by remote control. In June I put up a post about those horses and the soldiers who died with them. Please take a look at this post. This is my “remembrance” for those who lost their lives, both horses and riders, as victims of terrorism.