Tuesday, November 7, 2017


In Flanders Fields...
This Saturday will be the 11th November (with Remembrance Sunday on the 12th) when people pause briefly to publically remember the veterans and survivors of historic and more recent conflicts and those who never came back. My family like far too many others in Wales (and elsewhere) had relatives who served and survived and also relatives who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars and other conflicts. 

One of my maternal grandmother’s lost two brothers in the First World War and its aftermath, her elder brother was a regular soldier, who wrote home and told them not to allow his younger brother to join up and to come out to France. It was too late the younger brother had already joined up was killed in action in 1918 and buried near Amiens. I grew up with a generation of older relative who had seen service in the second world war in the armed forces and the merchant navy - not that they ever talked about it save to those whom they had severed with. 

As I have said previously I have absolutely no problem remembering those who lost their lives and the courage, comradeship and their endurance of those who served in the First World War and other conflicts (and not necessarily in the armed forces); but I have no time for rose tinted nostalgic flag waving foot-tapping pap. As has been said elsewhere, soldiers don’t die for the politicians, for patriotism or even us but for their friends and comrades with whom they serve. 

Far too many lie in corners of foreign fields, are names on a war memorial, faded photographs, faded memories or literally have no grave at all. US President Abraham Lincoln rightly noted at Gettysburg the fallen have given their last full measure of devotion. It may be more true today that the world will little note the current crop of political leader’s lyrical offerings on conflict, nor long remember them. What we should never forget what the former soldiers and veterans did and what they went through and we should not just cherish their memory but ensure that after their military service they are fully honoured as is the military covenant.

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