Their pain has long gone. No odor from the gas warfare they endured remains. There are no echoes of the thump of artillery, no reverberation of the clash of arms, no sound of fusillades or the rat-a-tat of the machine guns. The trenches have long been filled; the entanglements of harsh wire gone, too. All is quiet on the Western Front.
But the memory remains of the industrial slaughter that was World War I. It echoes for later generations in fading black-and-white photographs, letters home stained with foxing and the poems of war poets like Wilfred Owen. And it echoes in the thoughts of the few surviving sons and daughters, frail and aged themselves, of the fathers who never came home.
And this week in the days leading up to November 11, the centenary of the end of World War I, one of the deadliest conflicts in the history of the human race, testimonies to the carnage are being pored over, discussed and debated.
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(Archive photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)