WHETHER it is a handful of people standing around a plaque on a wall or thousands gathered along the route of a parade and around a war memorial, there is something quite special about Remembrance Day. It is a day, which brings whole communities together albeit briefly to stand in silence and remember those who died fighting to protect us and preserve the peace we treasure so greatly.
Wars rage on around the world and it is the young who inevitably get sent to those war zones. The death toll for the Great War and the Second World War must surely highlight why we must try for all we are worth to live in peace.
The war poets summed up the terrible carnage, death, and destruction with words, which expressed what they saw at first hand through young eyes. The war photographers and filmmakers documented the moments when young men stepped off landing craft only to be mown down by hostile machine guns. Merchant seamen and naval seamen had nowhere to go other than a freezing cold sea ironically ablaze with the ignited fuel when their ships had been hit by hostile bombs.
War correspondents wrote carefully selected words to send back for printing in newspapers. They described the scenes of decimation as whole swathes of land turned into the most grotesque sight on Earth with men and animals dismembered and rotting in thick stinking mud, left there alone to die and in many instances left unfound.
Back home anxious parents, wives, and children waited for news of their loved ones. For many, a telegram was the signifier that their loved one was not to be returning home. It was not that long ago and yet it is difficult to comprehend that even here on the mainland of Great Britain, bombs fell day after day wiping out whole communities and reducing whole cities to rubble.
We have been spared those terrible scenes of atrocity for more than half a century at home at least but sadly, there has been no let up in other parts of the world. Man it seems has not learned that well and dictators still exist and given an opportunity still pose a danger.
PEACE is achievable. Whether it comes through negotiations or armed conflict is for the politicians and World Leaders to decide. All we can do is ensure that we choose those people wisely and protest, wherever and whenever we believe there are injustices around the World. After all, that is what so many people fought and died for. Our right to freedom, our right to live in peace and our right to express ourselves in a true democracy.
Featured Image: Ryan Milsom
Special thanks to Delyth Jenkins, David Hurford and Byron Williams for the photos.