8 November 2015

Remembrance

Sitting in front of the television as eleven o'clock approaches on Remembrance Sunday. The BBC are showing us tales of war and the deaths of ordinary young men...on Flanders Field, Dunkirk and Arnhem, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq... and of course you could go much further back in time. A line of silent young men, going back over the hills as far as the eye can see and way beyond. "Nimrod The Hunter" by Edward Elgar is played by the mass military bands at London's Cenotaph and my eyes fill with tears for all those lost boys. The ones who never came home.

Nearly all of Great Britain's towns and villages contain war memorials for their local heroes - the war dead. You can see some of them here. Now The Queen is standing by The Cenotaph as we wait for Big Ben to chime eleven times. Lest we forget...

13 comments:

  1. Remembrance Day/Armistice Day/Poppy Day/11th November is one day I never forget.

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    1. Me too Lee. It means a lot but I sometimes wonder how long the remembrances will go on.. When I see a baby in a pram I think - "You were born seventy years after World War II!" When our generation has gone what will remain of all that remembering?

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    2. the 11th day of November is also my birthday, Yorkie; another reason I never forget!!

      In a serious tone, however - as days such as Remembrance Day and Anzac Day are to be revered always...I hope future generations are never allowed to forget those who've fought, lost their lives, been injured physically and mentally for their rights to be. I hope future generations live in peace and harmony...but I know that is just a pipe dream on my part.

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  2. When there is a war theme to the post of someone's blog, more often than not I do not comment because I feel I should keep quietly in the background, what with being German and all that implies.
    But this time, your remark about the memorials in nearly every town and village in Britain made me want to say something, too:
    Isn't it tragic and sad that there are very similar memorials in nearly every town and village in Germany? Our young men died, too, and the families here - sometimes still in the making with a young woman waiting for her man to return so that they could get started on the whole family thing - were torn apart and mutilated just as much as yours.
    Of course one could always argue (and be right about it) that it was Germany's fault for having started it all, and yet... any normal person, your average Joe (or "Otto Normalverbraucher" as he is called in Germany), didn't care all that much about politics and wars - all they wanted out of life was pretty much was the average Englishman wanted, too: The possibility to lead a decent life, earn some money, marry a good girl, raise children and grow old in peace surrounded by the ones they loved.
    How sad and tragic, really, that this chance was taken away so cruelly from more than one generation, and even sadder that humankind does not seem to have learnt anything from it in so many centuries of war.

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    1. Sorry about this Very Long Comment. It just "got" to me, somehow.

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    2. Though you like to keep quiet where war is concerned, I thank you for the long comment Meike. People like Otto Normalverbraucher and our John Smith were identical. They did not create war. It came to them and obliged them to join in. Wars seem to be made by historical circumstances and by stupid men who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tell me, is there a particular day on the calendar when the German people remember their dead? Here of course we have Remembrance Sunday and also November 11th if it doesn't fall on a Sunday.

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    3. Yes, there is Totensonntag (literally "Deads' Sunday", also sometimes called Ewigkeitssonntag, lterally "Eternity's Sunday"). It is not a historical or political date but something out of the clerical calendar, always the last Sunday before the first Advent Sunday, and people are supposed to remember all their Dead, not specifically those who died in war. This year, it falls on the 22nd of November.

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    4. Dear Meike, thank you so much for your comment.

      A German plane came down in one of my grandfather's fields and the pilot was killed. My grandparents had lost one of their own sons and would never have opportunity to see him buried. They gave this young man, a stranger and supposed 'enemy' to them, a burial, under much disapproval of the locals, and a stone was erected with the words, "A much loved son" because they knew that every person involved on all sides was a son, lover, husband or father, often caught up in the conflict not of their volition, but by command from above.

      After the war, my grandfather went to great lengths to find out who the man was so that his family could mourn properly, but it wasn't to be.

      Every year, he is remembered and like you, I feel sadness at the families torn apart through no desire of their own.

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    5. I'm reading this nearly a month after it was written. As it's on YP's blog I don't usually comment when I read a post if it is more than a few days old knowing that YP doesn't 'go back'. However on this occasion Meike and Elizabeth I must tell you how much your comments resonated with me and my perception of war and, in particular, the two World Wars.

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  3. These were terrible tragedies and I hope we learn from them by our remembrance.

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  4. I will have my Remembrance on the eleventh at eleven.

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