shake that cola drag

The office-block persecution affinity.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Today is the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. I learned this morning that it killed more New Zealanders than Gallipoli did - one in every seven men. The other day my mother told me a story I'd never heard about my great-grandfather George, who was at Gallipoli. He was a medic, and one of his jobs was to collect the ID tags from the corpses lying around. When he came home to Invercargill, a pretty small town, he saw a regular classified advertisement in the newspaper from some local parents, asking returned soldiers for any information about their son, who was missing. George remembered that the son they were looking for was (of course) one of the corpses from which he had collected ID tags.
That's sad and horrible, but the kicker to the story is that George could never screw up the courage to tell those parents that their son was dead. He kept thinking he should get around to it, and he never did, and finally one day they stopped advertising in the paper, so they probably never found out for sure. And my great-grandfather felt guilty about his inaction for years and years, until he died in 1995 at the age of 101.


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