“Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”
These words from Horace have survived since ancient times.
Yet more often nowadays we read it in other contexts like:
Ezra Pound: “some in fear, learning love of slaughter; Died some “pro patria, non dulce non et decor.”
Wilfred Owen’s excoriating Dulce et decorum est:
“If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.”
I think of my ancestors and their comrades who fought in the Australian forces, some gone, without remains for a grave, just a name on a wall. Ordinary people caught up in horror of war. Not of their choosing, not of their making. Yet they did their duty. They fought. They stood by their mates. They died in distant lands.
Lest we forget