On this date in 1917 American soldiers saw action for the first time on the front lines of France.
From that struggle I can think of no more poignant words than this short verse penned by Siegfried Sassoon.
Suicide in the Trenches –
I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.