Jim W. Dean: The Battle of Britain and Poets Galore!
The young Spitfire pilots rush for their planes, some for the last time. The Crimean War Brought Us the First Photo Journalist War Correspondents, the Veterans Today Multimedia People of their Day. Allen Roland reminded us this week of the Battle of Britain, where he featured Canadian pilot John MaGee's famous poem High Flight. It joggled my memory of an early full multimedia piece I had done for VT in November of 2011, where I featured the famous war poets as an example of how multimedia could bring this old history back to life. The High Flight poem was part of elementary school education back in my day, and I can remember sitting in the class connecting with my first poem emotionally. I had put a good bit of work into this piece, going back to find a great photo of MaGee with his plane and the other great wordsmiths, and some fabulous videos featuring the early wartime photojournalists' work. This is one of my favorites, a classic VT piece now. I hope the new readers enjoy. This is a special treat for our Veterans Today readers. We live in troubled times with men at war in far away places, so that scourge continues to linger with us. For a change of pace, I thought we would feature some bards of the past today, to share their talents and also showing us their own stories. I think you will enjoy it as I had a lot of fun pulling it all together. Let's start with Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade and Kipling's The Last of the Light Brigade. We don't see much of this older war poetry, so I felt that a more modern multimedia presentation might help snag a new generation. Among all the blood and gore of war, we find a few oases from time to time. They help us rise above the ugliness and horror, or paper it over. One of our veteran treasures has always been our war poems and poets. But unfortunately it seems they are becoming less visible year after year, almost like a slow motion death sentence. This part of our military heritage is in danger of being lost to future generations, and some older ones, too, if never have any exposure to it. We have to make this 'cool' again. The old adage out of sight, out of mind, has lasted through the years because it is true. I fear these poetic time capsules may end up as the private enjoyment of professional researchers if something is not done to breath some new life into them. Veterans Today is a big web site with a wide variety of readers. We can afford to devote some space and attention to parts of our heritage that we see slipping through the cracks. So this poetry series, like the Weekend Concert,, is going to hunt down the gems to share with you. We will cover the well known classics, of course, like In Flanders Fields by John McCrae in 1915, and High Flight, by John McCrae in 1915, and High Flight, by John Gillespie, Jr, a nineteen year old WWII RCAF pilot who died shortly after writing his. Rather than just putting their work up I will dig around for you to pull some background material together on the people.