Friday, 8 November 2013

#FridayFlash - Remembering

Faraday James sat in the chair by the window, staring out at the street. How quiet it seemed, how empty. Men were missing and families mourned, keeping all but the lonely indoors. He could see the appeal in it - inside, in the comfort of one's own living room, the rest of the world was forgotten, along with its death on an industrial scale.

By midnight, Faraday knew that no comfort would be derived from pretending his England was not fractured. He moved from the chair to the sofa, and lay down. As he did each night, he counted his limbs, before counting himself lucky. Many of the men he photographed came home having left parts of themselves in the killing fields of France and Belgium, if they came home at all. What was a little shell shock in comparison? He mentally slapped himself, commanding his silent tears to stop. Men didn't cry.

A framed photograph of men in a trench hung beside the door. Taken in December 1914, the photo showed Germans and Englishmen standing side by side, festive smiles on their faces as they beamed with the confidence of men who thought the war couldn't continue. He'd won awards for his images, but their medals were sent to bereaved families. Would it all be remembered, in a century's time? Would another conflict, perhaps even bigger, overshadow their losses? Would names like Ypres and the Somme be remembered, or would they fade into history, taking their ghosts with them?

Faraday knew that some ghosts shouldn't be forgotten, capable as they were of returning, bringing a fresh hell with them. He knew sleep would continue to elude him, so he got up, saluting the soldiers as he passed. He went to the bureau to sort through his photographs, the ones not yet published. Faraday would do everything he could to keep these ghosts alive, to ensure they were remembered, if only to stop another, even greater, war from swallowing up the world.

13 comments:

D.C.Petterson said...

A hundred years later, one marvels at how little has been learned, and how unimportant the motivations behind most Great Wars truly are.

Janet Lingel Aldrich said...

Thank you for remembering through your story. Touching and well told.

Tony Noland said...

So strange that events can be remembered, but the wrong lessons drawn from them.

David G. Shrock said...

Ghosts worth remembering. Nice story, Icy.

deannaschrayer said...

I've always wondered how reporters and photographers could handle all the strong emotions of the men and women of war surrounding them. You've done fabulous in showing us a bit of that Icy!

Larry Kollar said...

Crowns crumble, empires fall, only the ghosts of those who died remain. Great vignette, Icy.

John Wiswell said...

Ugliness can run through anyone who has to deal with it long enough. Brilliant to keep this so concise, Icy.

Virginia Moffatt said...

Beautiful and pertinent. Loved this.

Steve Green said...

I have heard the expression "The war to end all wars." Wouldn't it have been something if that had turned out to be true?

A powerful story, Icy.

Tim VanSant Writes said...

You've written a beautiful snapshot of a tortured life. Nice work.

Laura Besley said...

Well-written, strong images. If only people would learn...

Helen said...

Always worth remembering - nice story Icy!

Katherine Hajer said...

It always shocks me a little when I remember the Great War will soon be a hundred years away in history. It still seems so immediate. These people lived with a lot of the same conveniences we do: telephones, cars...

Great job of showing what happened to even some of those who were non-combatants.

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