What will you leave behind

And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
Jeremiah 23:3

DSC01384
(the story of a piece of wood found in a cross cut knot / Julie Cook / 2015)

Recently I read a story on the BBC website about an ominous discovery. It was a story about finding, along with the subsequent necessity of diffusing, an undetonated bomb from WWII. The bomb precipitated the largest post war evacuation ever in the history of Cologne, Germany.

As is often the case, a construction company preparing a site for some new underground pipe made the frightening discovery. The unexploded 1 ton bomb was buried 16 feet below the surface.

20,000 city residents, including those from an elderly care facility along with the Zoo, several schools and surrounding businesses were all evacuated in Cologne yesterday as the Rhine River was closed to commerce as was the air space over the city as a bomb squad team was dispersed to safely unarm the bomb.

According to the German newspaper Die Spiegel it is estimated that hundreds of tons of bombs are discovered yearly littered throughout Europe, with the highest percentage being found in Germany–Thousands of undetonated bombs are either buried underground or lying on the bottom of ocean floors–from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Underneath the lives of 21st century modern-day Germans—under homes, major thoroughfares, schools, churches, synagogues, shopping centers, business. . .all unsuspecting that there is a dark reminder which lies hidden just below their now busy and peaceful lives.

Several times throughout any given year, global news is littered with stories of farmers, fishermen as well as construction crews who inadvertently make such grim and frighting discoveries. Be it the fishermen off the coast of Denmark dragging their nets to awaiting underwater remnants, to construction crews in Germany, Poland, England, Amsterdam and Russia who accidentally uncover an all too explosive past to the farmers in France and Belgium who simply labor to plant their fields which are rife with a deadly debris—all live bombs that were dropped 70 years ago which still pose a very real and dangerous threat today.

In 2014 a man operating a back hoe in the town of Euskirchen near Bonn was killed when he accidentally hit a buried bomb, triggering the deadly explosion. Eight others were injured

In 2011, 6000 citizens on the outskirts of Paris were evacuated from their neighborhood when a 1000 pound unexploded RAF bomb was discovered by a construction crew.

In 2012 thousands of citizens were evacuated in Munich when the discovery of an undetonated 550 pound bomb was found laying buried beneath a nightclub made famous in the 1970’s by the British Rock Group, the Rolling Stones.

Yet it is not only Germany or her sister countries of Europe or Russia which are sitting on top of potential catastrophes. . .
Millions of buried land-mines litter the Balkan region which spans 11 countries. In recent years, these countries have witnessed heavy and devastating flooding. . . flooding which has in turn unearthed thousands of undetonated deadly land-mines. Long buried reminders from the Bosnian War of 1992-1995.

Last year the British news agency The Telegraph ran an article about how scientists from both France and Croatia have been working together on enlisting “sniffer bees” to help “sniff” out explosives. Scientists discovered that the bees olfactory sense is on par with that of dogs and that the bees can be trained to keenly sniff out TNT. Bomb experts hope to release the bees in the fields while following their movement as they “hone” in on buried explosives.

Southeast Asia is also rife with deadly reminders of its tumultuous past as a fare share of its forgotten nightmares, those thousands of undetonated buried bombs and land-mines, all of which now litter the fields, streams and cities from Vietnam to Laos to Cambodia to Korea and even to Japan.

And then there is the Middle East. . .Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Iran. . .

The global list of the dark reminders of conflicts, police actions, as well as world wars, litter the world like a spilled bowl of popcorn.

The mainland of the United States has been left relatively unscathed when it comes to things such as land-mines and buried undetonated bombs. The US is fortunate in that the sorts of discovery of war paraphernalia is from wars fought long past. . . Revolutionary, Indian, Spanish and Civil Wars—all long before modern warfare’s use of live ammunition and bombs.
Only the wayward musket ball, arrowhead, spear, sword or cannon ball. . .

Yet there are those rare times that a country is privy to more shining historical moments such when a farmer, tending a lone field somewhere in the UK, or an errant treasure hunter detects, then digs up, a hoard of Roman coins or battle gear. There was even the recent story of the lost remains of a once dubious king, King Richard III, being unearthed from underneath a parking lot in Leicester.

These are the stories of what lurks beneath our feet. . .

Yet the question remains. . .
What of future generations?
What shall they be unearthing that once belonged to us. . .
What will our discarded, throwaway, perhaps deadly legacy be. . .
What of the dead zones such of Chernobyl or Fukushima?
What of our own Love Canal and Three Mile Island?
What of the mountains of discarded toxic trash littering Paraguay and Argentina?
Much of which has been shipped from the US to be dumped in impoverished countries.
That whole “not in my backyard” mentality.
It is the poisonous remains of our love affair with the never ending growth of technology and electronics. . .all full of lead, mercury,cadmium, dioxin. . .
Thrown out and shipped out. . .as in. . .out of sight, out of mind. . .

Hidden dark reminders of our fractious as well as industrial past, resting unsuspected and forgotten. . .until a child playing in a field finds a shiny piece of metal sticking up out of the ground and makes the fatal mistake of pulling it out. . .

The question remains, what will future generations unearth that once belonged to us and what will be the consensus?

8 comments on “What will you leave behind

  1. ColorStorm says:

    I too have often thought jules of the absolute need, no the necessity for ‘all things to be made new.’

    We have not been excellent guests on another’s property, and it escapes me how a thinking person cannot see the ultimate justice in all of us being held accountable for our actions.

    You have been on a roll of late. Keep stoking the thought chamber, and the pen ever ready πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks CS, the whole unearthing of bombs is beyond me as we don’t worry about such deadly disruptions in our daily lives–but yet each country has their own legacy and for the most part, none are proving to be very good. . .It also amazes me that years ago everyone was fighting, today the fights have simply moved- – -where will they go in another 25 years???
      We never seem to learn—or maybe that should read, we never seem to want to learn. . .as I see in a good bit of the commentary over in your neck of the woods. . . πŸ˜‰

  2. Wow, I never thought of that, unearthing left over bombs from previous wars is a very scary thought. All I’ve heard of here in Texas a the finding of arrow heads and dinosaur tracks. What a world, and how mankind has trashed even the depths of it. So sad! 😦 Love, N ❀

  3. David says:

    A challenging post Julie – if you ever get to visit Guernsey you would be amazed to see what the Germans left behind in terms of the amount of concrete poured into the defences. Have you come across the song ‘Generations’ by Sara Groves? It contains the lyrics:

    Generations will reap what I sow
    I can pass on a curse or a blessing
    To those I will never know

    What will we leave behind?

    Blessings, David

    • I have not heard the song but the lyrics are perfect!! You have lived with this more than I have or ever will—it’s just amazing to me that 70 years on, we still live with the repercussions —
      Oh that the generations of today and years to come may actually think. . .
      Much love David—Julie

      • David says:

        One example of how the Germans poured concrete into Guernsey Julie:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hommet_10.5_cm_Coastal_Defence_Gun_Casement_Bunker

      • Wow–I marvel when I visits the coast here, Fort Frederica off the coast of Georgia, Fort Sumter of the coast of South Carolina, Castildo de San Marco in St Augustine, Fl—I walk through the remains of these buildings thinking of the battles—British, American, Spanish—of the men who defended, fought, died–the history overwhelming me—and then there are the more recent edifices in Guernsey- – from a more modern time, but none less deadly—-amazing what we do to keep other at bay. . .

      • David says:

        Amazingly there were roughly 60 gun batteries on Guernsey (8 miles long by 5 miles wide max!) just to keep the French at bay. The Germans adapted many of these during the occupation. Fort Hommet has been completely refurbished and set up to look as it did in WW2. It is open to the public on certain afternoons – we took the kids (the two younger ones) there once but I don’t think it really meant anything.

        Unbelievable that wars continue and that we have learnt absolutely nothing!

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