Today’s Remembrance Sunday. I think its also Veteran’s Day in the US; but Remembrance Sunday is celebrated right across the Commonwealth; the nearest Sunday to 11th November, the day when World War I ended. Tomorrow is especially poignant because its 90 years since the end of WWI; or to be more exact, Tuesday will be 90 years to the day. The 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918.

I’ve changed the header to reflect this. Although i don’t come from a military family, I was brought up to respect and admire the sacrifice that they made, those who gave their tomorrow for our today(1). There wasn’t a family in Britain, France, Russia, Austria or Germany who wasn’t affected by the conflict – including mine – one of my great-grandfathers, i was stunned to learn very recently, served in WWI, and lost a leg there, although I’m not sure where.

And of course, WWI was supposed to be the “War to end all Wars“, but of course it was anything but. More men and women gave their todays, resting in a corner of a foreign field(2), in WWII, and in the numerous wars since then, and are still doing so today, in the numerous conflicts around the world.

I want to end this with a quote from a poem that’s always meant a great deal to me ever since i first read it as a teenager. Its by another WWI poet, Wilfred Owen, and its called Dulce Et Decorum est – which is latin, meaning “It is sweet and noble to die for one’s country”.

“My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro Patria Mori”

Please: Buy a poppy. Take a moment, a minute of silence, at 11am, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, to remember them, remember their todays, and honour their sacrifice.

(1) paraphrased from “When you go home, tell them of us, and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today” – from the Kargil Memorial.
(2) taken from “The Soldier“, by Rupert Brooke – “If i should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England”.

Postscript: Just spotted on the BBC: Monday is apparently the 70th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, which many consider to be the start of the Holocaust. Although its not traditional to remember those who died in war or in the holocaust but who weren’t soldiers as part of Remembrance Sunday, i personally will be remembering them too.

Advertisements