Saturday, November 14, 2015
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
We in the US think of our British cousins, when we do, as stalwart allies in common efforts. But Britain has gone it alone without the US when it was convinced the cause of freedom required it.
It was British redcoats who hemmed in Louis XIV, thwarted Bonaparte at Waterloo, and curbed the Czar in the Crimea. Britain brought civilization to a sizeable chunk of the globe. Britain along with France held the Kaiser's army at bay until the US deemed it appropriate to join in the fray. Britain stood alone against Hitler and Mussolini in 1940 and 1941. British troops fought Japan in Asia, and fought alongside us in Korea, Serbia, the Iraqi desert, and in Afghanistan. They are alongside us now in Iraq.
They stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us for 40 years, ready to prevent a Soviet blitzkrieg into Western Europe.
This is a day to remember also Tommy Atkins, soldiering on at Blenheim, Oudenarde, Malplaquet and Ramillies, Fontenoy and Culloden, Minden, Quebec, Warburg, Plassey, Ticonderoga, Bushy Run, and Wilhelmstahl, Bunker Hill, Long Island, Brandywine, Germantown, Camden, and Guilford Courthouse, Talavera, Busaco, Fuentes de Honoro, Cuidad Roderigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, the Pyrennes, Quatre Bras and Waterloo, Sevastopol, and the Sepoy Mutiny, Roarke's Drift, Ladysmith, and Omdurman, Ypres, Gallipoli, the Marne, and the Somme, Dunkirk, Crete, Gazala, Crusader, El Alamien, Dieppe, Goodwood, Epsom, and Arnhem, Goose Green and Desert Sabre.
This is a day to remember those who have fought for our sakes, for the effort to restrain tyranny, even long before we were born, or even before our country was born.
Barrell's 4th Foot holding back Jacobite Highlanders at Culloden, 1746
The Scots Greys slashing through D'Erlon's 1st French Corps at Waterloo
B Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Reg't of Foot defeating 5,000 Zulus at Rorke's Drift
Tommies moving up for 2nd Battle of Ypres
Charging into German fire at the Somme, at a cost of 54,000 casualties on the 1st day
Guards Armored Division moving up for Goodwood Offensive, Summer 1944
Victory in the Falklands, 1982
Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders with Warrior AFVs in Amara, Iraq, after a bayonet charge killed 35 Iraqis, 2003
Thank you for your sacrifices!
Today the Church celebrates Saint Martin of Tours, one of the most important saints in western Christendom.
Martin was born in Pannonia around 325, and entered the Roman army's elite cavalry at an early age. Encountering a beggar while was stationed at Amiens, he divided his cloak with him. According to legend, the beggar revealed himself to be Christ himself.
Shortly after age 20, he was baptized and left the army, becoming an exorcist under the direction of Saint Hilary of Poitiers. He lived as a hermit on the island of Gallinaria, and returned to Gaul where he founded a monastery at Liguge, the first important monastery in the West. His monastery followed the Rule of Saint Basil.
In 371, he was forcibly carried off to become bishop of Tours. He had hidden from the delegation from Tours, but his hiding place, it is said, was revealed by a goose, hence the custom of eating goose on Martinmas.
He ruled the see of Tours for 26 years. In that time, he made numerous conversions in Berry, Touraine, Anjou, Beauce, Dauphiny, Paris, Luxembourg, Trier, and Sennonais. Wherever he went, he cast down idols, built churches, and left priests and monks to carry out his work.
In 397, worn out, he lay dying at Candes. His followers begged him to live. He struggled to say, "If God finds that I can still be of use to His people, I do not at all refuse to work and to struggle longer." He died with his face turned to Heaven.
He became almost immediately, the most popular saint in Chistendom. In France alone, 4,000 churches are dedicated to him, and over 500 villages are named for him.
Martinmas in Europe corresponds to the traditional time for slaughtering animals not intended to be kept alive through the winter. It also signals the time that the new vintage of wine is ready for drinking. Fresh beef and Beaujolais Noveau have traditionally meant feasting in Europe. So Martinmas has traditionally been a jolly time, a last opportunity to enjoy God's bounty before the fast of Advent starts.
Here is what Fisheaters has on Martinmas and its customs.