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Veterans Day, 95 Years On

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Posted on Nov 11, 2013
W. W. Norton & Company

By Adam Hochschild; Illustrations by Joe Sacco, TomDispatch

(Page 4)

A Quiet Trench

Engraved on a stone plaque in the small cemetery holding the Devonshire Regiment’s casualties from this day are the words survivors carved on a wooden sign when they first buried their dead:

The Devonshires held this trench
The Devonshires hold it still

In the cemetery’s visitors’ book, on a few pages the ink of the names and remarks has been smeared by raindrops—or was it tears? “Paid our respects to 3 of our townsfolk.” “Sleep on, boys.” “Lest we forget.” “Thanks, lads.” “Gt. Uncle thanks, rest in peace.”

Only one visitor strikes a different note: “Never again.”

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Joe Sacco, one of America’s foremost political cartoonists, is author of the new book The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme, from which the illustrations in this piece are taken. His books include Palestine, winner of the American Book Award, Footnotes in Gaza, winner of the Ridenhour Book Prize, and Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, co-authored with Chris Hedges. His Safe Area Goražde was named best comic book of the year by Time magazine. His drawings are reproduced by permission of W. W. Norton & Co. 

Adam Hochschild is the author of To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914–1918, from which this text, used in Sacco’s book, is drawn.  It won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His previous books include Half the Way Home: A Memoir of Father and Son, and Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves, a finalist for the National Book Award. This text is reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Illustrations reprinted from The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme by Joe Sacco. Copyright © 2013 by Joe Sacco. With permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Copyright 2013 Joe Sacco and Adam Hochschild


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