What lies beneath

I asked permission to take a picture at the fracture clinic in our local hospital yesterday.

At first I couldn’t decide how I felt about the poppy, the symbol of remembrance for those who died in conflict, serving their country.  But then I thought, it’s a pretty stark reminder of what ‘the ultimate sacrifice’ means.

Tomorrow, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, some of the Saturday hustle and bustle will stop for one minute. On Sunday, services of remembrance will be held at war memorials around Britain and, in our local town’s case, around the peace memorial.

One side of Southport’s majestic peace memorial

The names carved in stone on these memorials, or engraved in metal, are predominantly of  those who died in the two world wars of the twentieth century.

Every small village seems to have its own tragic reminder of families who gave lives to the nation’s cause. And I believe it is fitting to honour their sacrifices.

Whether the cause is judged, with benefit of hindsight, to be worthwhile, mistaken or futile is not the point. They fought, they died, they served their fellow citizens to their last breaths.

But it is always a sad reminder of how easy it is for humans to choose to go to war. As they continue to do – and as more threaten to do, as I write.

As we slip further into the twenty-first century, thanks to certain men in power,  the threat of a nuclear conflagration rears its horrific, mushroom cloud of a head again.

For some of us it has never, of course, gone away.

When will we ever learn?

Why can’t we humans give peace a chance, as a boy from Liverpool, who would later be shot dead in New York, sang long, long ago.

This entry was posted in Britain now & then, Lancashire & the golf coast, Thinking, or ranting, or both and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What lies beneath

  1. Jess says:

    Very poignant, I don’t condone armed conflict, but I respect the men and women in which many wars had a lasting effect on their lives and families. My grandfather fought in the first world war and was a Japanese PoW, now my brother lives in Japan. My Dad always wondered what his Dad would have made of that. I think its an amazing testament how quickly things can also change for the better. And finally I always think about the Gurkhas, because not many seem to these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Armed conflict is not something I condone either, and I listen with interest to debates over whether war is ever justified. I am never sure what I think on that one, other than that surely it should never get to that stage? Your grandfather must have been quite a man. How terrible for his family to have him survive WW1 only to be taken prisoner in WWII – I wonder if he was a volunteer the second time around? I knew a lot of people of that generation who would never at one stage buy anything Japanese but relented in the end. It is humbling to see elderly men forgiving their erstwhile captors. If only they had been so compassionate – or rather their leaders had – earlier. Sorry, going on rather!


  2. Thel says:

    It’s Veterans Day here in the USA. Thanks for reminding us all to be grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find that, as the years pass, I grow less and less tolerant of the idea of ‘giving their lives’ and ‘sacrifice’.
    They were forced to go to war, whether by law or by social and economic pressure and they were killed.
    The thing that comes to mind for me on 11th November is their comradeship….they were there for each other….and this is something for us to aim at in the current state of society.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I understand that point of view and think we do talk a lot of platitudes around this time, but whether it was a result of social pressure or not a lot of people did CHOOSE to sacrifice their comfort for the sake of what they believed – rightly or wrongly – to be a just cause. Not just soldiers, but women who became nurses and drivers and so on. Yes, many were conscripts of either legal or moral kinds, but those who volunteered knew they might have to ‘give’ their lives. And if nothing else, their families sacrificed a huge amount – though hardly willingly. Like I said to Jess, I believe the real iniquity is that it should never come to this, to anyone being obliged or feeling obliged to ‘sacrifice’ themselves.
      I totally agree about the comradeship and that it is something we could do with rediscovering and not the way it has been resurrected in Labour circles where ‘comrades’ is in vogue again and people are not ‘friends’ any more. .

      Liked by 1 person

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