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.
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.