Anna Coleman Ladd, dignity and face masks.

 

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One century ago WWI changed our way to make war forever. Powerful arms, and body-to-body combat left horrible wounds on men when they could survive.

Social anxiety was at the top, of course, so when they came back to their home, most of them were not accepted and rejected for their damaged body image. War vets with evident mutilations were compared to betrayal and cowards.

There we need the touch of a kind-at-heart and so talented woman, whose skills you can see in the rare pictures I will add above this article. She gave finally back heros the dignity they deserved on a battlefield.

God bless Red Cross ladies and artists like Anna Coleman Ladd.

xx

images

to work as a sculptor

"Triton Babies" in the Boston Public Garden “Triton Babies” in the Boston Public Garden

Anna Coleman Watts Ladd (1878 – 1939) was an American sculptor in the Boston area who devoted her time throughout World War I to soldiers who were disfigured.

Anna Coleman Watts was born in Philadelphia and educated in Europe, where she studied sculpture in Paris and Rome. She moved to Boston in 1905 when she married Dr. Maynard Ladd, and there studied with Bela Pratt for three years at the Boston Museum School. “Triton Babies” (shown here, now a fountain in Boston’s Public Garden) was shown at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. In 1916 she was a founder of the Guild of Boston Artists, where she held a one-woman show.

In late 1917, in Paris, Ladd founded the American Red Cross “Studio for Portrait-Masks” to provide cosmetic masks to be worn by men who had been badly disfigured in World War…

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Soldier’s woundwort, if Achille suffered from PTSD, anyone can do.

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Greek Mythology never end to amaze me. Not only because it’s psychology in disguise, but further more because it’s so modern, that you could use it to explain today’s society to your children (like Fulvio Terzani, Tiziano’s son, says in his conference about Ultra Marathon).

To say it all, this article was supposed to start with a gengitivis, yes, I wanted to put an example of trauma in our body. The last time I have been at the dentist, he told me that my gums were not infected, but they kept the memory of an ancient gum disease. Oh my gosh, I admit that teeth brushing wasn’t my fave sport until quite late, and that I have been neglecting this must-have habit for too long.

So, how can I send the message to my gums that it’s okay, war is over… or is it? No, it is not. My self defense system is prepared to striking news, at any moment of the day. Consider that, on 13th november, Paris terror attack I was watching Star Wars on streaming. The day after I went to work, as I usually do, by train, and I was taught about the situation (8 attacks, 13 kamikaze, hundred wounded and dead, doctors called back from strike to help with rescue operations) only once over there. Yes, terrorists won their cause, with my brain cells. For me, the real fight starts now, with goals like regaining confidence, trusting other people, and building hope for the future by taking actions (and moving forward from freezing).

Before I go to the topic “14th november” (the awake after attacks), in another article, I would like to finish what I started. Gum disease, I said. Ok, let’s go.

Yarrow-cultivar

Yarrow is commonly called nosebleed or soldier’s woundwort because the juice of its leaves and stem can stop bleeding. Many North American tribes chew the leaves as a remedy for a toothache as well as a number of other ailments. The anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic, effects of yarrow can help with receding gums at any stage.

Sorry, if I skip the part where you are suggested to chew on the leaves and stems or gargling. If you don’t want to mess with the herb, you can use the essential oil of yarrow. This blue-colored oil is very potent, so mix in a few drops of coconut oil or another carrier oil before using it as a gum paint.

If you don’t know where to buy essentiel oils, please, contact me, and I will be happy to give you some ideas, for free.

Yarrow’s latin name, like a thunder lighting, sounded too familiar. Achillea Millefolium… go away. No kidding. Because I am already used to another powerful plant, which helped me with bipolar disease, mood swings, St. Johns Wort, Hypericum perforatum, I am very eager to test this plant on my gums.

Hypericum is worth a full other article, but if you have any questions, don’t miss and go to contact, or leave a comment. Hypericum leaves have got deep wound-healing potential, as anti-depressant, especially in seasonal change.

My Spirit-Self is a being of pure Light.
A shield of radiant light protects me as I travel in Starry worlds.
I learn to trust my own inner Light.
The Sun is shining in my Soul.

crociato-ferito

Now, back to our greek warriors, and PTSD

“Beyond the universal soldier: combat trauma in classical antiquity”, have now retrospectively diagnosed ancient Greek fighters as “traumatised by their experiences of war”.

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American infantrymen grew up in a society based on “Christianised norms and values, stressing peace, mercy and the sanctity of human life”. They largely “served in military units comprised of complete strangers” and often had to fight round the clock for extended periods. They could do little more than “seek safety in cover and concealment” on battlefields “traversed by red-hot, razor-sharp shrapnel and high-velocity gunfire”. Sleep deprivation, lack of social support, enforced passivity in the face of lethal danger and a sense of going against their underlying values all combined to make war deeply traumatic.

None of this, Dr Crowley’s paper goes on, applied to Athenian hoplites. They lived in a “profoundly pugnacious” society that “venerated war”, and where “battlefield bravery” was “considered an unqualified social good”. Soldiers “mobilised, deployed and fought alongside” those from their local communities in “a close-order formation predicated on mutual protection and tactical interdependency”. “Largely protected against progressive exhaustion and sleep deprivation”, they faced a limited range of threats from “warriors armed with muscle-powered weapons”.

All these factors, Dr Crowley’s paper concludes, protected ancient soldiers against the dangers of PTSD. The whole idea of feeling bad after harming an enemy is totally alien to Greek culture,” says Dr Crowley. “Grave markers include tallies of the numbers a soldier has killed, something very hard to imagine today.”

With courtesy of Battle scars: Did Achille suffered from PTSD?

Silver Star winner poses for Norman Rockwell.

rockwell_ontimeOh well, I like the art of Norman Rockwell since my twenties.  As an artist, and painter, he moves me to tears. Here is a nice story of a vet’s daughter that I copy from Tracking the 101st Cavalry, with courtesy of. Before I leave you with this, I’d like to add my small personal experience about WWII. Of course, I am too young for having memories from the war times. But my hometown was on the yellow line, in Italy, and my mother lost his brother at 16 because of a bomb left unexplosed. Actually, she came after his death, in 1946, and she was given his brother’s name, Tonino, on the female, Tonina.
They say that your name carries a karma, so I wonder which karma my mum carries from her brother. It’s heavy for a baby to get this debt. Anyway, she comes from a family of 7, and this costume to have at least 4, 5 children was very common in the 40s. Another brother of her, Armando, left during 2 years. This story was never told. He was supposed to be in a concentration camp, maybe in Germany, but I am not sure. Nobody ever talked about his time in the camp. He came back home, once the war was finished, walking along the Adriatic Coast, near Rimini, on his own feet.
But I can’t say more, by now. Tabou. All families got their secrets, right? 
Until 90s, in Italy, Military Service was obligatory, so, my granddad choosed Navy, in 30s, he was on the beautifulAmerigo Vespucci training ship, as seal led, and my father, in 60s, in genius bridge builder. My brother was the one who didn’t give a damn of it, and he was invalided from army. First, because of his flat feet, and second, they didn’t accept shortsighted.
Me, as a child, in 80s, I was serving as a proud boy scout, on the Romagna hills (Sant’Agata Feltria, in a windy night a tent fell down, at 3pm, and I admit, that was my biggest adventure as Ladybug that I recall except hiding in the woods in the dark, and get lost, of course, or dish washing in the river), but still too shy to become a team leader. Such a shame.
My youth education was based on war stories books. Not only at school, but also, at home. Granddad, il nonno Ristin, liked strategy and big leaders biographies (Stalin, Lenin); we had this massive cultural propaganda against Communism, despite my family came from farmers and workers. At Christmas time, I remember dad, uncle and granddad having huge controversial conversations on politics, as well as football topics.
Tourism boom was the service industry which made people rich and individualist.
Personally, I have been captured by Primo Levi biography and books (If this is a man – Survival in Auschwitz), so when I saw Schindler’s List, I finally put images on what I read. And this shocked me (the scene where they run, naked, in circle and the physicians visit them or the achitect lady who was shot building the hut because she warned the Officer that the hut was going to fall down and more). Levi, I felt much empathy for him, especially, after his suicide in Turin. He fell from third apart’s floor, but someone says it was accidental. What I couldn’t understand as child was how could he can commit suicide, in 1987, after 40 years back home.
Sorry, I guess, I’ll stop here.
****

Vincent Kelly, Company F, 116th Squadron, 101st Cavalry, posed for this Normal Rockwell illustration. It is used courtesy of the Army Art Collection, US Army Center of Military History.

I interviewed a few veterans who told me that “some guy in the unit” posed for Normal Rockwell. No one knew his name, no one could provide any details, and no one confessed to being that mystery soldier. It was a real dead end, so I didn’t include anything about it in Tracking the 101st Cavalry.

I had, in fact, almost forgotten about it, when I heard from the daughter of Staff Sgt. Vincent A. Kelly, Company F, 116th Squadron. She (regrettably, she didn’t sign the email, so I don’t have her name and recent emails have been returned) wrote that her father, who was originally from Brooklyn, was asked to pose for Rockwell while the troops were still in the U.S. Kelly was seated behind a machine gun for the painting, which was called “Give ‘um Enough and On Time.”

“Norman Rockwell walked over to him and tore his shirt,” she wrote. “He paid him $5.00 in a check that he wished he had never cashed. He was also given some sketches from Norman Rockwell.”

Her father didn’t talk much about the war, she wrote, just a few random comments like many of the men. “He did say that while they were waiting to land in France, he almost passed out from the fumes building up in the tank. He said another time that he was taking a picture of something, and a sniper shot at him. At first, he thought he had been shot in the face, as the bullet tore through the bellows of the camera, and he fell back into the tank yelling, ‘I’ve been hit! I’ve been hit!’ Then he realized that he had goop from the camera on his face instead of blood. He laughed about that.”

On April 1, 1945, Sgt. Kelly was under heavy enemy sniper fire in the vicinity of Distelhausen. Although he was wounded and facing continuous sniper fire, Kelly rushed into danger to give first aid to seriously wounded personnel and help evacuate them. For that bravery, he earned the Silver Star.

“He didn’t talk about winning the Silver Star very much,” his daughter wrote. “He did tell me that he felt bad because one of the men he was trying to rescue was shot in the head as my Dad picked him up. The bullet went through Dad’s leg as well. Dad wondered if maybe he had left the man on the ground, maybe he would have been saved. I know my Dad was a hero, and our entire family is proud of him. He passed away in 1998, at the age of 85.”