When I read articles about Fifa trying to ban poppies (since corrected), or Poundland attempting to ban their staff from paying tribute, for fear of offending others, I can’t help but think to myself…
… Lest. They’ve Forgotten.
It seems there are innumerable ways to honour (and dishonour) Remembrance Day. Perhaps you have a political or religious agenda; perhaps you have a loved one in the Army. The sight of Poppy may fill you with sheer pride. Or contempt.
On 11/11/11 I, personally, will be remembering those who were sent to their deaths through conscription. When that one minute silence starts, year after year, these are the things that go through my head:
I try to imagine how it would have felt to have been forced into battle, or to witness a loved one be involuntarily drafted into the Army. Even the confines of my imagination produce a feeling of immense terror.
I try to imagine how it would have felt on 11th November, 1918, when the Armistice was signed, marking the end of World War 1. I’m sure there would have been immense relief, though not without unspeakable trauma and loss.
I try to imagine how it would have felt to go through it all again only 21 years later. What was going through the minds of those who’d survived WW1, knowing what lay ahead of them?
I try to imagine those who lost their lives taking a long, hard look at our world today. Would they feel it had all been worth it? Even those who willingly entered the Army in a fit of Patriotism… what would they think?
As we face the onslaught of more displays of forgetfulness, I will be remembering the Armistice Agreement and what it represented. Not through a sense of Patriotism, but through a sense of human compassion for ALL casualties of war, regardless of origin.