Lest We Forget
What do we forget when we remember
What are the stories left untold
What do we think each November
As we march down that glory road
As we march down that gory road
At 11.oo am on the 11th day of the 11th month 1918 an appalling war came to an end. Officially. Many more deaths were to follow this official end of the war, but now every year in Britain, the commonwealth, and across France and Belgium, the end of the war is remembered, and more importantly, the sacrifice made by all those who died
To those who have not visited the battlefields of the 1st World War, this may be of a decreasing significance, but once you have been to the area, and walked through the countless rows of immaculately kept war graves, you leave with a humility and huge respect for those who fought under appalling conditions, and who gave their lives, or came back with either an incurable mental or physical impairment
Yet to my mind there is also a great sadness about such reflections. for how many of us remember the non allied casualties of the war, or in simple terms, the soldiers who fought and died, or suffered disfigurement, but on the other side.
How many of us know about Volkstrauertag, or in translation Peoples mourning day that is held two sundays before the first sunday of Advent, and how many of us think about such soldiers as they were shot to pieces, drowned in the mud, or hung up on the wire. So it is that I would ask any reader of this blog to remember ALL of war on Remembrance Day, and on Volkstrauertag. Sure there was heroism and valour on both sides, just as there was barbarism, merciless fighting, and unwarranted blind stupidity, but most soldiers were just courageous individuals caught up in a war that was of not of their making, so maybe it is time to put any partisanship to one side.
Moving a few years further on what do most us remember about the Second World War Concentration Camps and the Holocaust? How many of us go no further than thinking about the fate of the Jewish people? What of the clerics, the gypsies or Romany, the communists, the social democrats etc, or simply those simply held form to their beliefs and made a stand. The picture on the left is Yad Vashem, an official Israeli Holocaust memorial but might it not be applicable to remember all those who died during this time. Within this memorial there is the Garden of the Righteous among Nations which honours those gentiles who tried to help their Jewish friends and neighbours, and this is a reflection of the wider issues at large.
The Holocaust was a terrible period in human history,and, quite rightly, it is an event, or sequence that few of us would ever deny or wish to see revisited, but if we are to remember such a vile period of history I feel that we must remember ALL the victims otherwise we will dishonour all the other groups that were persecuted, victimised, or murdered in the same vein.
Time marches and this post now draws to a close but in summation I would leave you all with this simple message. There are no winners in war, only losers, and if we are stupid or lazy enough to forget what has gone before us then the whole damned thing will happen again.
To the left of these words you will see a few candles burning; just a few, a very few, or many millions of other candles which, in this post, represent all those who have died in war or an any who suffer intimidation, persecution, or subjugation to this day.
Take a candle, any candle, and keep it alive and burning, for in that simple flame a memory or a life will glow quietly, a memory, of whatever shade, colour, faith, principle, belief or culture you believe in. Such memories, or voices from the present or from history, should never fade or go away.
- Remembrance Day (jerri42.wordpress.com)
- Remembrance Day Services To Honour Veterans (news.sky.com)
- What shall we remember? (jessicahof.wordpress.com)