Intro to For the Sake of Freedom
There are a few points I want to make clear before the story.
First of all, there is the disclaimer. Evil things, these are. They remind us that no matter how hard we wish, Race could never really be mine. *sigh *
Then, I should say that this is a story that takes place seventeen years after the strike and centers mainly on Racetrack and the family he has built. It would be a good idea if you read A Game of Life before hand, just to get a background on the characters, such as Race, and Vinnie. But it's not really necessary. I think it could stand on it's one, but like I said, it would be pretty helpful if you did.
One other thing I should say. This story is about World War One. It is not supposed to be a happy story or have a happy ever after ending. It is very true, and it happened to far too many people. I know, it happened to my Great Uncle.
In a way, that is who Vinnie is based on. But Vinnie is a character in his own right whom I have come to like a lot. This story has a simple message about war.
War is not pretty, it is not glorified, but harsh and cruel and brutal. It makes no distinction between races or religion, between class or color. It kills any and all. Vinnie is young but that does not save him from the horrors of war.
Like I said, this is not meant to be a happy story, but a story that tells the true story of what war was like in 1917, both in the trenches and on the home front.
To get an even better idea of what the trenches were really like, I would recommend All Quiet on the Western Front. A great book, yet very sad.
I'm starting this story with a poem by a man called Wilfred Owen. A very promising young man who was killed in the trenches only a few days before peace was declared. This is from a site about the poets of WW1
Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)
Wilfred Edward Salter Owen was born on March 18, 1893. He was on the Continent teaching until he visited a hospital for the wounded and then decided, in September 1915, to return to England and enlist. "I came out in order to help these boys-- directly by leading them as well as an officer can; indirectly, by watching their sufferings that I may speak of them as well as a pleader can. I have done the first" (October, 1918).
Owen was injured in March 1917 and sent home; he was fit for duty in August 1918, and returned to the front. November 4, just seven days before the Armistice, he was caught in a German machine gun attack and killed. He was twenty-five when he died.
The bells were ringing on November 11, 1918; in Shrewsbury to celebrate the Armistice when the doorbell rang at his parent's home, bringing them the telegram telling them their son was dead.
This is a poem he wrote to tell the true story of what happened during WW1
Dulce Et Decorum Est
double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.
GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.