It’s that time of year again, we wear our poppy with pride and gather at the Cenotaph to watch the Legion present the colours and the laying of dozens of poppy wreaths.
How many of us actually gather there to remember what these symbols really mean. We repeat the words “lest we forget” but how many of us do forget within five minutes of leaving the ceremony?
The veterans on parade are often quite elderly, especially those from WW2, the horror of their memories, of experiencing comrades dying in front of them must haunt them constantly and I am sure their past wars are not just remembered on this one day of the year.
The younger men and women from more recent conflicts also have the memories that nightmares are made of, many of them suffering from PTSD who can never lead a completely normal life again.
Our world leaders make decisions that send thousands of men and women out to war zones in a way that a child plays with soldiers. Do they really think about the consequences of arming soldiers and sending them out to kill. What sort of victory is it when the battle may be won but a whole nation suffers the consequences of having so many citizens crippled either mentally of physically.
It is true that we should try to defeat our enemies but it is also true that those who we call our enemy have their own ideals, they may differ from ours but does that necessarily make them wrong?
World leaders just seem to be playing king of the hill, whoever gets to the top of the pile first wins, but are they really thinking about the consequences of what they are doing. Nothing ever seems to be actually solved by war, it just seems to slow down to a simmer until next time it heats up and boils over.
World leaders never seem to agree on how to solve conflicts peacefully, it honestly seems to be a case of play the game my way or I will take the ball and go home. The biggest bully wins. How many of these people in power have truly known the horror of war close up, how many have felt shrapnel falling on them or have had a friend die in their arms.
It is easy to parade round wearing a poppy but not so easy to truly remember, when you were never in the battle.
by Pat Whalley