Remembering the dead of two world wars, and all the other wars.

Posted: November 9, 2015 in Political musings, Popular Culture et al
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

soldier

 

Hating war – arguing for a pacifist position, even one that is not utterly purely pacifist – does not mean we cannot weep for and celebrate those who fight wars on our behalf.

With the tragically costly conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Remembrance Sunday – just like Anzac Day in Australia and Memorial Day in the USA – has assumed a new significance, and a new enthusiasm from the young.

 

From left to right: Distinguished Service Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-18, Victory Medal 1914-18, Medal for Military Valour, Mercantile Marine War Medal 1914-1918,

From left to right: Distinguished Service Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-18, Victory Medal 1914-18, Medal for Military Valour, Mercantile Marine War Medal 1914-1918,

 

For ourselves, remembering a father who died at 46 worn out by terrifying six years of naval service, a cousin who endured tropical diseases for his entire life after incarceration in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp, a Grandfather who served in the trenches in World War 1 and another Grandfather who received the DSC for trawling up mines dropped by Zeppelins in Portsmouth Harbour, we have always paused for two minutes at the appointed hour, bought our poppy to wear in our lapel, and subscribed to war casualty charities.

In our view, despite that, we are convinced that the very best way to show our respect for those we commemorate is to state, unequivocally, the old an unarguable truth.

“War will continue until men refuse to fight.”

This list of current conflicts, worldwide, makes very depressing reading. Are we really doing the best we can?

Listen to any old soldier, and simultaneously, along with their sadness felt for their injured or fallen comrades, and their quiet pride in “a job well done”, you will almost always hear them explain how the horror of war was worse than anything they could have imagined. How they often felt they had more in common with the foot-soldiers opposing them than they did with their own leaders. And always, how anything must be tried, and done, before humankind responds to a crisis by turning to arms.

Even the most significant war leader in 20th century history, Winston Churchill, who through sheer force of will saved the world from fascism and rescued democracy in its darkest hour, remarked, “Jaw-jaw is always better than war-war.”

From their graves, the dead of countless wars cry out to us for attention. “Don’t do it again! Don’t do it again!”

If you are interested to purchase my collection of poems called Read Me – 71 Poems and 1 Story – just head here.

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Comments
  1. gwpj says:

    Reblogged this on Musings by George Polley and commented:
    Thank you so much for this Yolly. I’m remembering a story my mother’s eldest brother Martin told her about his experience in France during WW1. He drove ammunition trucks to the front lines as a 19 year old, one of the nicest, sweetest guys my mother knew. He returned home at 21 an emotional basket case and a nearly life long alcoholic. He had never shared his story with anyone until, at age 66 he finally quit drinking and told my mother what he’d gone through. Telling me the story brought tears to her eyes, and brings them to mine as i type this. Will we learn? I hope so Yolly, before we destroy ourselves with our stupidity and arrogance.

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  2. gwpj says:

    Thanks for sharing this Yolly. My mothers eldest brother Martin served in France in WW1 driving ammunition trucks to the front lines. One of the nicest, sweetest guys anyone knew when he went, he returned an emotional basket case and a nearly lifelong alcoholic. He didn’t share his pain with anyone until, at age 66 he quit drinking, moved in with my parents, and told her one day what he had lived. Telling me the story brought tears to her eyes, as it brings them to mine writing this. My uncle Martin Gerard died two years later, still sober, reconciled with his wife. Will we ever learn Yolly, or will we destroy ourselves with our arrogance and stupidity? I hope we learn before it is too late. Blessings on you, my friend.

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  3. […] Remembering the dead of two world wars, and all the other wars. […]

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