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Thursday, August 04, 2011

On this day in History

You can't go anywhere this days without someone telling you how wonderful the armed forces are. What they mean are "our boys" out in Afhganistan and Iraq.

You will also be told of every anniversary of World War II. Turn on to the Freeview channel Yesterday and you be forgiven tfor thinking that the only history we have is WWII and the ...... Nazi's.

So it is worth pointing out the single most bloody conflict in history started 97 years ago today when Britain declared war on Germany after the later invaded Belgium.

With all respect to those in Iraq and Afhanistan I would suggest that being sent to the trenches was a significantly worse experience than being sent to Helmand province (although frankly I wouldn't want to have to do either!).

We all of us sit here on this interweb thingy enjoying standards of living our grandparents could only dream of. We worry about paying Mortgages and University debts and can we afford that trip to the costa, my grandparents worried about feeding the kids.

Before the sacrifice of the 1914-18 generation there were other conflicts where others thought so we could sit here now. I would argue that we have forgotten Waterloo, Trafalgar etc and think only today matters.

And yet we should remember a generation who endured hell.

Anthem for Doomed Youth - Wilfred Owen

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
- Only the monstruous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

1 comment:

Tricia said...

That's a fitting tribute Pete. All victims of war should be remembered because, and I couldn't agree more, that we wouldn't be benefiting from the lives we lead today without the sacrifices made by our forebears over the years.