Posted on Nov 11, 2014 in All Blog Posts, Holidays and Celebrations, Patriotism

“He who wishes to fight must first count the cost.” 


Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Once in a while a handkerchief is so outstanding, it deserves a solo spotlight, as does this WWII silk crepe beauty.  This hankie served her country as diligently as any soldier, doing double duty as both fashion accessory and lookout to alert companions “shhhhhhhh….mums the word.”  When a cough, hand gesture, or even eye shift might be too obvious a warning signal, a gal could lay this little number on the table to advise a friend to keep QUIET!

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The main message resides dead center, with reminders at all four corners. Look closely behind the ladies gossiping dead center – there sit Adolf Hitler and his trusted sidekick Hermann Göring.

The artist cleverly interjects Hitler  into every scenario, whether peeping from a window or surreptitiously taking notes under the table.

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Whether dangling from the luggage rack, or cleverly camouflaged in the wallpaper, to underscore the admonition “the walls have ears” the ever watchful fuhrer is omnipresent. What a tremendously clever piece.   The fact this hankie has survived 70+ years is particularly gratifying.

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We might consider this colorful hankie the female equivalent to WWII aviator’s silk scarves printed with maps and escapes routes.

This handkerchief came from Europe, and gratefully, the fear and paranoia so prevalent in occupied countries was unknown to those residing on U.S soil at the time.  Today, terrorism is global, and those who have witnessed it personally remind us what a privilege it is to live in the “land of the free.” Let us never forget this freedom comes at a price which thousands of servicemen and women pay for us each and every day.  We salute you.

“You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. 

Don’t ever count on having both at once.” 

Robert A. Heinlein

 

Grateful appreciation to fellow handkerchief hawkeye Diana Craft who alerted me to this historical treasure.

 

Epilogue

WWI, or the “Great War” ended with a cessation of hostilities on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918; thus on 11/11 we celebrate this gift of freedom, and memorialize those who fought to attain it. One symbol synonymous with Memorial Day is the red poppy.

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In times past, veterans sold small paper poppies on 11/11 and everyone wore one on their lapel as a remembrance.  Ladies often carried handkerchiefs with images of poppies.  The custom seems to have faded, but still survives Canada, perhaps because the remembrance originated from a beloved Canadian poem In Flanders Fields.

 

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
veteran_004The author, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, was a physician who was inspired to write the poem after officiating at the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres, Belgium, in 1915.

 

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

Plato

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