Sunday, November 08, 2009

Poppies grow for another year in Flanders fields

This morning I attended our local Remembrance day service, as I have almost every year since with moved to this town.

The man with all the medals who only ever comes to church this one Sunday every year looks tired and much older, and that's because he is. The Lad with the trumpet has got much better and the Cubs, Brownies, Guides and Scouts seem to pay more attention this year because it doesn't take so much effort to remember the sacrifice and loss of our armed services. You just need to remember the last day's news.

Another years crop of remembrance poppies is about to fall.

Our political media and politicians try to make their points with remembrance day. I heard someone from a liberal religious think tank on the radio this morning trying to turn the event for his own purposes. And yet remembrance day stands for what was lost, what never was and what has been possible due to that loss.

But remembrance day isn't easy to manipulate as it functions on a very personal level. We see people who knew the fallen honouring their memory and keeping faith for another year. Many of us consider ourselves lucky we have not been put through the same trials, and recognise the debt that we owe those who did on our behalf.

Veterans day or the military day that New Labour have tried to conjure up and import from abroad just don't have the same hold or resonance.

It is always sobering to read down that list of names on the war memorial and realise many died young and most likely in terrifying conditions. But whilst the recent dead and the long lost dead are remembered, we no longer share the understanding of experience of the circumstances of war.

In modern times war has become subcontracted to the willing brave, very few of whom are present in the ranks of those who deem these wars necessary or who read out lists of this weeks dead and declare their sacrifices not to be in vain.

This is a worrying imbalance, especially in some political parties who should try harder to recruit those with actual field experience. ( Surely this is more important than pursuing false equality agendas and other reforms of tokenism. ) The feedback loop of experience and emotional cost with those who govern is growing weak in this country and that should be a cause of concern.

So another year goes by and I remember what I can of my old school friend and great Uncle, bear witness to the debt owed to those I will never know, and I hope we are worthy of the peace and freedom they paid for.


James Higham said...

That's a great post, MiaS. Thanks.

old and angry said...

I too attended my local cenotaph,there were 8 people there......
Did you notice on the TV highlights of the London cenotaph parade, Gordon Brown was the only politician who did NOT bow his head for a few seconds.
How shameful, but then again, the man has no shame.....

Man in a Shed said...

We had far more. I didn't count but I would estimate 100.

I think Brown's not nodding at the cenotaph was a mistake. But its one he no doubt makes because he just doesn't listen to his staff. ( You would assume that at such state occasions someone reminds ministers of what is expected ).

When I first heard about it I assumed it was another Cherie Blair not courtesying type snub, but looking at it on Youtube I think he just messed up ( like most everywhere else ).

We need to be careful to hang Brown for his crimes, not his mistakes.

wildgoose said...

We need to be careful to hang Brown for his crimes, not his mistakes.

Just so long as we get to hang him.