Remembrance Day at 90

Martin in the Margins wears his poppy with pride – so do I and I get emotional over those straight-backed, impeccably-dressed veterans collecting in the stations. I wish I’d written more. Next year I will.

The Somme:

Bodily and mental devastation

Here’s the BBC’s commemoration, including ‘how we remember‘.

And the National Army Museum’s exhibition on Helmand.

In Pictures: The Faces of World War 1.

The Poppy Appeal.

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Remembrance Day at 90

  1. It would be nice to think that by the time some of today’s veterans are in their 100’s we will have stopped adding to the list of those we need to remember at such a rate of knots – given the present amount of conflict in the world this seems unlikely.

    Two things really brought it home today the amount of human sacrifice there has been this century alone. The first was Jock Stirrup (http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/People/ChiefsofStaff/ChiefOfTheDefenceStaff.htm) who when being interviewed informed us that British Service people had died in every year bar 1 since the 2nd world war. This is a tragedy not only for them and their families but those on the other side of those conflicts.

    The second thing that did it was the Robert Capa and Gerda Taro exhibition at the Barbican (http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=8029). It reminded me that I know next to nothing about the Spanish Civil War, Flesh summed up how strange and horrific the photos were by thinking out loud that it would be a bit like somebody knocking on the door and asking to go to fight on Hampstead Heath. The exhibition ended with WWII where Capa was on on hand from the start of the D-Day landings to the end in 1945. The courage of these ‘Citizen Soldiers’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_Soldiers) never ceases to amaze me and I feel lucky beyond words that I am not from a generation that has had to go through that.

  2. ‘The first was Jock Stirrup (http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/People/ChiefsofStaff/ChiefOfTheDefenceStaff.htm) who when being interviewed informed us that British Service people had died in every year bar 1 since the 2nd world war.’

    Add British military personnel who served on secondment with the Omani Armed Forces during the Dhofar war (1965-1975) to the list, and that covers every year from 1945.

    The Poppy Appeal raises money for the widows and orphans of those killed, and also for those wounded in body and mind. That’s why I simply cannot respect anyone who claims not to wear the poppy on principle. Not putting money in the tin does nothing to stop war or militarism, but it does everything to spite those servicemen and women who have been killed and maimed in them; including the ones that fought fascism in WWII, and the ones who served on peace-keeping and peace-making operations in Yugoslavia from 1992-2001.

  3. One of my teachers at school counselled us to wear a white poppy, but because these were difficult to get hold of (or costly to tippex) I ended up shunning poppies entirely for a good long time because I was under the impression they glorified and sustained war. Now I am creased with guilt about that every year – that view must have been so hurtful to the veterans who fought to protect, and for a threatened way of life.

  4. That teacher has a lot to answer for.

    Incidentally, the white poppy was introduced in the 1930s by the Peace Pledge Union, whose leading lights were at best avid supporters of the appeasement of Nazi Germany, and at worst openly aligned with Fascist groups such as The Link and the British People’s Party. After WWII began their members gravitated to the ‘People’s Convention’ in January 1941, which called for a compromise peace with Hitler.

    I think there are probably a good number of honest, decent people who wear the white poppy under the mistaken belief that they are taking a stand against war and violence. If only they knew that it actually symbolised capitulation to conquest and genocide.

  5. If I thought that the red poppy glorified war, I’d be looking for alternative ways to contribute to veterans. But I don’t, so I can’t see the need for a white poppy. It’s a bit like the “Not in my name” crowd – me, me, me. Remembrance Day is about the soldiers.

    Kamm on the white poppy – its symbolism is dodgy because its supporters have ignored genocide and supported fascists. There are Stop The War Coalition placards on the banner for http://www.whitepoppy.org.uk/. It is vanishingly unlikely that I will every wear one, then, because I consider Stop The War to be a pro-war organisation, in the We Are All Hesbollah Now kind of way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s