A Note on The Ceremony of Innocence

An image for the first volume of the Hanlin Trilogy, The Ceremony of Innocence

Downtown Hartford Connecticut in 1861, troops (highly stylized) leaving for Washington and National Service . . . Ceremony of Innocence indeed . . .

The epigraph for The Ceremony of Innocence is the last stanza of a short Siegfield Sassoon poem :

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.
Siegfield Sassoon knew first hand of what he wrote: twice wounded on the Western Front, where he served with Robert Graves, hospital friend of Winfield Owen, he was known as “Mad Jack” by his men – who refused to go out on missions without him.  Publicly Anti-war he served, wrote, and exorcised his depression and demons by taking enormous risk on the battlefield.  He and William Hanlin would have gotten along famously . . . .  

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