Friday, 11 November 2011

Remembering

Today is Remembrance Day... 93 years ago the "war to end all wars" was officially ended. Sadly, it wasn't the war to end all wars and even today, there are many nations at war with each other.


This day always takes me back 12 years to 1999, when I went on a school trip to the trenches. We spent three days traipsing through muddy trenches, gazing over an ocean of white crosses, researching those who gave their lives and digging up bits of shrapnel that, nearly a century later, still lay undiscovered in the mud. That whole week I soaked it in, somehow feeling that I owed these soldiers my time, my research. I was amazed, shocked, overawed, overwhelmed and it was only when I get home that the emotions surfaced. Sitting down with my parents when I return, my Mum asked me to tell her about the trip. I burst into tears and sobbed out some story about a 14 year old boy who was my age who had been killed in the trenches.

I find it utterly fascinating - this generation of young men felt such loyalty to their country, and such pride in their nation that they CHOSE to enter the closest thing to hell on earth. I don't think our generation has anything like that kind of pride... but I thank God that they did.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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