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Nov-11-2011 05:10printcomments

Memories of France on the Anniversary of Armistice or Rememberance Day

World War One's four years of deadly carnage ended on this day in 1918.

Tim King by Jean Paul de Vries in France
Tim King (Center) flanked by U.S. representatives and French military officials, at a ceremony in Murvaux, France, 2008.
Photo by Jean Paul de Vries in France

(SALEM, Ore.) - One of the most dangerous battlefields I have ever spent time on may not have been in Iraq or Afghanistan, where I covered present day combat operations; it likely was in France where I visited World War one battlefields in several locations, but primarily in the Romagne vicinity where many Americans fought and died.

I stayed in Verdun, a city where history is vast and thickly laden with blood and death and courage and honor. It was during this very time that my sons watched a TV program in the U.S. about how more civilians were dying from unexploded ordinance in the Verdun region than anywhere else on earth.

In retrospect, having spent time in Afghanistan, where one-legged people consider themselves lucky and are sadly not rare to see, (land mines are everywhere, thanks to the ten-year Soviet invasion) I have to say that the competition for death by prior war ordinance is fierce.

But in Afghanistan, and Iraq, there are bases, either large ones well protected for the most part, or smaller ones called FOB's )forward operating bases) and most of the military troops spend time 'behind the wire' as they say.

In WWI, the only wire was either barbed, or used for communication. That barbed wire we all saw in the history books, is wadded up and laying generally where the soldiers of that war placed it. Farmers and others came along later and did their best to contain it, but they didn't remove it, or the foxholes, or the trenches, etc.

Mayor of Murvaux, France and Tim King

I visited Fort Duamont near Verdun and saw amazing fortifications still in place and nobody around to tell a person where they could and could not go. In France it doesn't necessarily fascinate the local people, not the way it does for a history student who has always wanted to see and experience these places.

The war that the Germans fought against allied forces was not something that most of us today could imagine, even the Veterans of the current wars. That isn't to say that combat is any less deadly, etc., but in WWI there were few breaks, there was little in the way of sanitation, and there were nasty terrible weapons like gas that crippled men from the inside out.

I'll never forget reading about how soldiers who would get an occasional pass from the long raging battle at Verdun to visit Paris, would arrive in new uniforms, freshly bathed, yet they still carried the smell of dead bodies they lived with in the trenches, and people would separate themselves from these soldiers sometimes out of revulsion.

Likely the spot where Frank Luke died.

World War One was a war of attrition, it heavily impacted the birth rate in France and Germany and would set into motion the stage for World War Two, one that was not based in stupid needless politics, but Genocide and unacceptable Human Rights violations.

I can't help finding war fascinating, I try not to ever promote the concept, however I agree that at times it is necessary to fight. At the same time I far more strongly believe that we have absolutely lost our sense about when and how war should be employed.

With regard to World War One, the primary focus of my studies has been the aviator Frank Luke Jr., an Arizona cowboy who became the nation's number one Ace prior to his death on the outskirts of a town called Murvaux, that very much reminds me of Oregon. I have included photos of myself in this place and with the Mayor of Murvaux. Ultimately I collaborated with Author Blaine Pardoe who wrote the fantastic book on Frank Luke titled: 'Terror of the Autumn Sky'. I've included a link to a report on that and also on another WWI pilot I have studied somewhat extensively, and that is the only African-American pilot in the war period, and his life might be the most amazing of all.

Our writer and friend, David MacMillan, the world adventurer, is originally from Australia, one of so many nations that participated in this way and paid greatly. Dave's words and choice of poetry are an honorable close to this article

David L Macmillan - "‎11th, hour 11th day, 11th month the end of WW1 but the following poem is of significance to all of the fallen of all nations in all the wars since"

They went with songs to the battle; they were young, Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted; they fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.

(Laurence Binyon 1869-1943)


More stories about or that reference, the First World War:

Jun-19-2011: Battle Over GMO Food Rages in Flanders Field - Opinion by Tim King

Apr-14-2011: The Great 1918 Flu Pandemic Was Not Due to Flu ... or A Virus - J Holcombe, D Jacobson for

Jul-20-2009: Pondering the Loss of Henry Allingham: World's Oldest Man at 113 - Tim King

Apr-15-2009: One of History's Toughest Marines, Smedley Butler, was Anti-War (VIDEO) - Tim King

Aug-06-2008: Book Review: Terror of the Autumn Skies Examines Life of WWI Pilot Frank Luke - Tim King

Apr-08-2008: Arlington Cemetery Makes Historic Exception for World War I Veteran -

Sep-22-2006: Book Review: Eugene Bullard - Black Expatriate in Jazz-Age Paris - Book Review by Tim King

Jul-04-2006: Movie Review:The Flyboys Shoots Myths About WW1 Pilots Down in Flames (VIDEO) - Review by Tim King


Tim King: Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 91 writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address:

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