Testament of Youth

I know I promised to write about Orgasms next, but I’ve been interrupted. Over the weekend I watched Testament of Youth, a movie based on the memoir of the same title by Vera Brittain.

It stars Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), and Taron Egerton (Kingsman) and explores the depth of emotion and tragedy of war.

The memoir and movie depict 4 years of Vera’s life during WWI. Her story of love and loss has been praised as a voice of her generation, becoming one of the most beloved writers of the 20th century.

My favorite line of the movie:

“We are surrounded by ghosts. Now we have to learn to live with them.”

In speaking of being surrounded by ghosts, these are the men and women lost in the war, which rings true today as much as it did in 1917.

With having attended a tribute earlier in the day honoring the brave men and women who served our country during WWII, I can only imagine what they’ve seen and what they’ve experienced. The room did seem filled beyond the visible bodies in the gymnasium at the National Guard Armory. Several of the WWII veterans in attendance I’ve have had the pleasure of interviewing, with two of these men the topics of upcoming books of mine. (Finding Joy and Paper Love)

James “Jimmy Mack” MacDowell of the 8th Army Air Corps Medical unit

Ghosts are everywhere, and living with them is easier for some. Vera found faith after the war to continue on even after losing her brother and her fiance. She went on to marry and have two children. Vera proudly represents a generation of quiet strength and resolve, finding a means to cope within herself, and perhaps supported in part by her ghosts.

Here is a poem she wrote to Roland, her fiance:

“Perhaps …
To R.A.L.

Perhaps some day the sun will shine again,
And I shall see that still the skies are blue,
And feel one more I do not live in vain,
Although bereft of you.

Perhaps the golden meadows at my feet,
Will make the sunny hours of spring seem gay,
And I shall find the white May-blossoms sweet,
Though You have passed away.

Perhaps the summer woods will shimmer bright,
And crimson roses once again be fair,
And autumn harvest fields a rich delight,
Although You are not there.

But though kind Time may many joys renew,
There is one greatest joy I shall not know
Again, because my heart for loss of You
Was broken, long ago.”

― Vera Brittain, Testament of Youth

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