This coming Sunday, the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, much of the Commonwealth of Nations and beyond, will see what has become an annual ritual stretching now for 100 years to commemorate the armistice that finally silenced for good the guns that had pounded for 4 years between 1914 and 1918 in the fields of Northern Europe, senselessly shredding so many lives.
The very deliberate decision to call a halt to the absurd human abattoir that ‘The Great War’ had become on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month 1918, would render that annual date and time eternally stamped in the minds of those apt to conscience, as one for ongoing contemplation of the idea of ‘the war to end all wars’.
Remembrance Poppy Cuff Links
And yet, is it even necessary to point out that peace appears not so politically expedient nor as profitable as conflict, as detailed by retired US Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler in his 1935 book, ‘War is a Racket’.
Within 4 years of its publication the unresolved tinderbox of issues in Northern Europe, combined with advancements in the technologies of destruction, and distorted philosophies of dysgenics, would reignite an even greater and wider devastation across the world.
And so the paradox of our human condition continues as annually a collective and solemn minute of silent prayer is offered in the hope of peace and the end of the destruction of our human family and brothers and sisters from within it. For the other 364 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes of each year, ‘business as usual’ ensures that somewhere in the world, and almost continually, the malice remains ongoing.
I, for one, refuse to believe that Remembrance Sunday would be so shamelessly cynical as to suggest that both war and dead servicemen and women are facts of life that we are powerless to prevent and that the day exists only to re-emphasize our acceptance of such a fallacious idea.
Too tempting is it for us to consider each service of remembrance to relate only to the conflicts of history, tributes to those who never returned from the muddy trenches of 100 years ago, that it be a concern only of the surviving grey haired ex-servicemen and women who march in so many parades across the nation on every Armistice Day, or that hanging ones head for 60 seconds a year is sufficient.
Today, young people will join the ranks of their nation’s armed services, and tomorrow, and the day after. For some that choice still means paying the ultimate price, while for others the rest of their lives, and the lives of the people who love them, will be immeasurably changed.
I sometimes wonder whether the men and women of my Great grandparents generation who lived through the period of World War I thought on those who 100 years before lost their lives fighting the armies of Napoleon, and of those who died in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, or was their focus on the events of their time and their prayers with their own loved ones who were so far from home. My guess is that the latter thoughts entertained few rivals.
It would be cynical and distasteful to draw attention, on such an occasion, to the commercial nature of our platform, save to say this; Fox & Chave have long since collaborated with the charity Help for Heroes in their effort to support those affected by military service today, and as such we have a few items than can be purchased here with a proportion going to aid the efforts of that organisation.
If you have allotted your charitable donations for this year and can’t buy one this time round please consider supporting next time.