BUZ LIVINGSTON: Fine day for a wedding — and remembering

Published: Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 05:25 PM.

This Memorial Day weekend coincides with our anniversary and our son’s wedding. He will marry a stunning University of Georgia graduate on May 25, the same day his great-uncle (and now hers) was killed in action while serving with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines during the tail-end of the Tet Offensive. Some families may think it macabre to align a wedding this way, but not so fast. Stephanie comes from a military family, her sister and brother-in-law both served in Iraq and Afghanistan, her dad in Mogadishu. Uncle Joe’s fiancée was another striking UGA grad, another family tradition.

Recently I read part of “To End All Wars” on my Droid. Like a lot of things, how it got there is unclear but I’m glad.

“To End All Wars” does not simply rehash the carnage unleashed a century past in World War I but explores it in a far different manner. John French led the largest army Britain ever assembled while his sister vigorously opposed the war. Despite their differences, they remained unusually close throughout their lives.

Rather than being another recitation of just the facts, the author explores contradictions, oft times on personal levels. The book’s forward points out how dramatically different early 20th century society was. Twelve percent of British soldiers died but among nobility (peers and sons of peers) the figure was 19 percent. The 1913 Oxford class, Britain’s elite, saw almost one-third killed. The German chancellor’s son died, likewise the British prime minister’s son. 

Former President Theodore Roosevelt lost a son while a future British prime minister lost two. The British general chief of staff for the Western Front lost two sons while his French counterpart lost three. You have to wonder if Congressional war hawks would rattle sabers so vigorously if their sons and daughters would go in harm’s way.

Semper Fi, Uncle Joe.

A note to Jim Bagby, our new TDC chief

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