Wednesday, 11 November 2009

In Memoriam 2009

Ninety-one years ago today the Great War ended. An unholy clash of 20th century technology and 19th century tactics, World War 1 ultimately caused the deaths of some 15 million combatants.

We remember them today.

Seventy years ago, conscription was increased in Britain, to cover all men aged between 18 and 41. Of those who joined up, many did not return.

We remember them today.

We remember the fallen in all conflicts - a litany of times and places; Korea, Malaysia, Aden, Northern Ireland, Falklands, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan.

We remember those whose names are read out at Prime Minister's Questions every Wednesday lunchtime. Whose flag-draped coffins are applauded through the streets of Wootton Basset.

But we should also remember the other ones. In the Birmingham suburb of Selly Oak is a military trauma ward. The staff there speak of wounded soldiers, often brought directly from the battlefield thousands of miles away under heavy sedation. Some of them wake up asking where their rifles are. "They think they're still out there," said a staff member, "if they see relatives they warn them to stay away, saying they're not safe."

Today we remember the dead. But let's not forget the living.

Because when diplomacy fails, when negotiation has no further part to play, it's the soldier, sailor or airman that bears the brunt.

3 comments:

Tom said...

Excellent sentiments, nicely stated. Amen and Amen!

City Girl said...

God love the the citizens of Wooten Bassett and more people should know about them. I could cry just thinking about them.

Okay, now I actually am crying just thinking about it.

"Today we remember the dead. But let's not forget the living." Indeed.

Le laquet said...

Oh yes indeedy!!!

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