Sunday, 11 November 2018

Remembrance week-end

This has been, for me at any rate, such a poignant reminder of war and of the sufferings of people throughout the world.   It seems it will never end. 
The generation of my son (who is sixty this year) has at least been a generation when young men have not been conscripted into the armed forces (at least in the Western world) but I doubt there has been no time during those sixty years when there has not been fighting and killing somewhere.
And for what?

The ceremonies this week-end have caught my admiration for another reason too.   Is there anywhere in the world where events like this are organised with such precision, such thought and such commitment ?   To some this may not seem important, but to me it is important that the whole thing goes off to perfection from start to finish and my goodness it has done.

At two minutes to eleven this morning, with only those two minutes to go before Big Ben struck that important eleven o'clock and silence fell over the battlefields of Europe (and what a silence that must have been) I couldn't believe that everyone would be in their place.   But of course they were - with about twenty seconds to spare.

I read in the comments on someone's post a while ago (sorry I can't remember who it was) that they had heard someone say it was time now that we forgot about it all.   For the sake of the millions who have died, have been maimed for life, have lost loved ones, have been persecuted because of their race or their religion - we must never, ever forget.

30 comments:

Tom Stephenson said...

Apparently, on the front line at 11.00, the Brits were a bit worried that the Germans hadn't heard the news and might carry on shooting.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I agree that it is important to never forget and that the young generation needs to know the history. -Jenn

Bovey Belle said...

A poignant post and yes, we must never forget those who fought so valiantly for the country they believed in.

Rachel Phillips said...

And we will never forget.

Donna Baker said...

So sad, but should never forget.

Gwil W said...

Tony Blair apparently forgot with the result a million dead in Iraq, Does he still turn up at these events? The interesting thing for me is that in the 1914-18 War 90% of the casualties were members of the armed services, whereas in today's wars the 90% are innocent civilians. The wheel has gone full circle. It's time to remember the fallen innocents.

Derek Faulkner said...

As always, last night's event at the Albert Hall and this morning's at the Cenotaph, were very moving, for millions of reasons. What I was dearly hoping was that when the German guy had laid his wreath and turned to walk back past Prince Charles, that Prince Charles would, in front of the whole world, have held out his hand and that they could of shook hands to say "no more, friend".

galant said...

I totally agree: we must never forget. We might forgive, but we must never forget all those killed in the world wars. I also agree with the precision and yes, the beauty, of such services that we have been able to witness today through the courage of those who fought for our freedom in two world wars and all the other conflicts that have taken place since then.
Margaret P

Carol Caldwell said...

We must never forget and I agree that we do this so well in this country. It was all so well timed.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Loads of issues here, Tom I often wonder if there was some shooting after eleven o'clock. I imagine the front line would be quite a large one and I wonder - did the message reach everyone. We shall never know.

Gwil you make a very good point indeed over numbers of civilians killed - I suppose much of that is due to more sophisticated weaponry. Although the savagery of recent conflicts almost makes me question that.

Derek - The reason Prince Charles didn't do as you suggest was, that I am sure you are aware,
these events are planned down to the last cough. That handshake was already planned, between HM the Queen and the German President at the tomb of the Unknown Warrior - very moving I found it. Interestingly the German President is himself the son of a refugee from the Second World War.
And yes,Gwil, Tony Blair was at the Cenotaph this morning as Big Ben struck eleven.

Bonnie said...

I agree, we must never forget. This is a day of remembrance and ceremony each year here in the US as well. It is Veteran's Day and we honor all who serve, have served, have fought and have died. It is a solemn day of remembrance and this year the services and ceremonies also remember the end of WWI. I have family that fought in WWI, WWII, VietNam and the Middle East. If only we could have a generation without war. I agree, we must never forget.

Jacqui said...

So sad; we must never forget those who gave their lives for our future. A very moving day, heavy with thoughts for many people. I shall be watching 'They shall not grow old,'- original footage of WW1 that has been remastered, by Peter Jackson at 9.30 on BBC2 this evening.

Susan said...

I watched our ceremonies today. For some reason I began thinking about the genocide in Rwanda and how they will not be having a service of recognition. Many, many countries do not officially reflect on past wars giving absolutely no chance for a different path forward. President Macron gave a powerful speech at the Peace Conference but there have been many such gatherings, many finely crafted speeches yet war continues. Given human nature I sadly doubt fighting will stop anytime soon.

Heather said...

How I agree that we must never forget the sacrifice that was made for our freedom. The Service of Remembrance and today's at the Cenotaph were both very moving, and I have noticed that the theme of remembrance has crept into sporting and other events taking place today.

Joanne Noragon said...

Thank you, Weaver. Many of us were raised on this war, around the dinner table. Sadly, new generations will forget.

tylasnan said...

Here in Australia the younger generations are take up the baton of Remembrance. Last Anzac Day my 24 year old granddaughter marched with her great grandfather wearing her great great grandfather's medals. Many of the young here are doing the same. Lest we forget.

tylasnan said...

"taking up the baton"

Marjorie said...

Canada has organized services just about everywhere. Even the roadworkers stopped for the wreath laying and stopped by later to photograph our cenotaph with the wreaths. The part of the US I live north of does nothing on Veterans Day as it happens during hunting season.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

No, we must not forget. For when history is forgotten or not learned, it is repeated. Perhaps your country's remembrances are more poignant due to the location of the fighting. Often Americans don't understand what war can bring. I may speak for myself here. I am also most thankful for our soldiers. My dad served in WW2 - 1941-1946 before he could return home. Most of the time in England. Most proud of him.

Thank you for your post.

Cro Magnon said...

I agree with you about the organisation of such events. The service in Westminster Abbey was another such case. The Brits do it better than anyone, and still retain a relaxed atmosphere.

Poppy Q said...

I had never seen two minutes of silence done before I lived in London in the mid 90s and was touched by the simplicity of it, how everyone stopped to remember. It is interesting that as I grew up, it was seen as not our place to go to ANZAC services - it was seen as being a day for the service men and women to attend. Now as they have died off, I crawl out of bed in the morning for our dawn service on April the 25th, to thank especially my great uncles - all now long gone. One who served in France in WW1, one in Monte Cassino, Italy in WW2, and another in the Pacific who was in a Japanese POW camp. Luckily all three came home when so many didn't.

Derek Faulkner said...

Pat, thanks for enlightening me about the handshake, I didn't know that it had taken place as you advised.

wherethejourneytakesme said...

I am eternally grateful to all those who gave their lives so I could live and enjoy mine.

Anonymous said...

I think Remembrance Day will be marked for many years to come.
In our community it is being broadened by the addition of new stones commemorating those who have given their lives in the service of others in recent years. This includes the rescue services and police force as well as the armed services.
My family are as keen to mark the occasion as the older generation are.
All vehicles came to a standstill for the two minute silence in our village.
I think it's important to remember all those who lost their lives in service regardless of race, colour or creed. We are all human beings with families to mourn us when we die unless we are very unfortunate.
Sue

diana said...

We should never forget and in fact maybe we do too quickly because we continue to try and solve problems with war. The greatest tribute we could give all our veterans would be a world at peace.

liparifam said...

How I wish I could have been in England or France yesterday for the Remembrance! This was an absolutely amazing tribute:https://youtu.be/jG9VaJGQUF4

Mummy and Me said...

I have found the centenary of the war very moving, but I have seen no events connected to it. It's also a reminder of the symbolic importance of anniversaries in allowing new generations to remember.
I find it frustrating that for people of my generation, there is a big debate about the poppy - on the one side some say they refuse to wear it on the grounds that it represents a militaristic outlook, and those on the other side that defend it as a sort of badge of patriotism. What is often lost is the reality of such a devastating event - a whole generation of lives lost. Imagining family, brothers who wouldn't last a second on a battleground being forced to go off to war. Brothers, fathers sons, all lost. If not dead, the remainder of that generation would have so many unresolved mental health issues that no doubt impacted on future generations.
I do wish their was a better bridge between the Great War and what it means to young people today. The poppy isn't quite enough unfortunately.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Mummy and me: Your Grandfather managed to go through life without outwardly showing signs
of his second world war suffering at the hands of the Japanese. Your father, on the other hand is one of those who feels the poppy shows a mlitaristic outlook - and yet I know he feels for the suffering of all wars. I think we all have to deal with it in our own way - the important thing as far as I am concerned is that we do deal with it rather than forget it.
This weekend has found me in a very upset state really - remembering your grandfather, thinking about the first world war, seeing the imagery of death and destruction - all so needless. One million, one hundred thousand of our young men (one in ten) died in that terrible 'war to end all wars' - I had four aunts who never married because there just were not enough young men to go round. To the men who planned it all (on both sides) these young men were easily replaced by more of the same. Thank goodness that attitude has gone for ever. x

Susan I found your comment so interesting in the light of a later David Attenborough programme called 'Dynasties'. Tonight's episode was about Chimpanzees, our nearest relatives. Some male has to be top dog and all males fight for that place and the male who wins gets to mate with all the females - nobody else gets a look in until suddenly he is past it, Then the young males fight again for supremacy. It left me saddened. Our nearest relative? So are we destined to be liked that always or have we got enough brain to overcome this and begin to behave peacefully? Somehow I soubt it.

Mummy and Me said...

I hope you are right in what you say Grandma, and yes I hadn't really looked at it like that - perhaps it is just people dealing with the same thing but in a different way. I hope you are feeling a bit better this week - thinking of you x

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