A letter to Wilfred Owen

Letter to an Unknown Soldier is a fantastic project commemorating the centenary of the First World War and is part of suite of commemorations in the UK through the 14-18-Now cultural program.  It is a living war memorial made of letters written to an Unknown World War I Soldier. You can write a letter to the Unknown Soldier and submit it through their website – through August 4th. I encourage everyone to send a letter; I am proud to have participated and I submitted my letter a couple of weeks ago. I wrote my letter envisioning the Unknown Soldier as a surviving friend of the soldier-poet Wilfred Owen (1893 -1918). Wilfred Owen wrote a number of poems about the conflict, first hand accounts of the suffering and tragedy of war. I remember the first time I read his most famous poem – “Dulce Et Decorum Est” (read the poem here) as a sophomore in high school (a million years ago now!). I was completely blown away and it opened my eyes to how powerful poetry could be. Wilfred Owen was killed in action a week before the Armistice.

If you would like to read my letter – here is the link: http://www.1418now.org.uk/letter/marcy-erb/

You can browse and search for letters by topic/style/age/occupation/location of the writer – it is an amazing website.

I wish there was a program like this being run in the US to commemorate WWI – the New York Times ran a wonderful series on the legacy of WWI a few weeks ago – but it has been fairly quiet since then.

This weekend I was walking the Freedom Trail and saw with awakened eyes that Liberty Steps – the staircase up to the new Massachusetts Statehouse are dedicated to the soldiers and sailors of WWI.

Libertysteps

Photographs (cropped to cut out the dozens of tourist shoes and legs – it was a busy summer weekend on the Freedom Trail!) by me.

 

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