Lest we forget the horrors of conflict
Three children approached the table after hearing the words ‘lest we forget’. Holding a wreath between them, just like the Royals, they laid their token with gentle respect, stepped back and bowed; such youthful dignity. Here we are, 74 years after the end of World War 2, remembering the people who made the supreme sacrifice.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.” Robert Laurence Binyon.
It’s all very well saying “they shall grow not old…”. Binyon’s poem was published in the Times in 1914. A bloody war followed and by 1945 yet another had passed.
That brings me back to today and a few people gathered together in a small corner of a town hall, in a tiny village, in Fife. Together, four generations stood and remembered our loss and folk who would grow not old.
Lest we forget other wars
Of course, some of us might have remembered the Korean War, Suez, the Malayan Emergency, The Falkland War or the Troubles in Northern Ireland. All of these, represent conflict and loss, for some families, somewhere.
I recall a visit to Hanoi some years ago and an invitation to eat with a senior person. We sat in a pleasant room with a picture of a uniformed loved-one who died in the American War (Vietnam War). Different features, identical loss.
Lest we forget … how can we deny the dignity of remembrance? Can we avoid the fact that humankind are capable of vicious and devastating conflicts? As we remember the pain, do we empathize with the loss experienced by other families, in other nations? Today I saw three young children lay a wreath in remembrance of people who died for us and our way of life. Our heroes lived in another time, known only from history and perhaps some words from a few surviving ancients.
Our young folk were solemn and mindful of the watching eyes of their elders who around them. They made their contribution. How I hope the leaders who vie for power in our country act in a similar and respectful way as they seek to move our divided country forward. The reality of death and loss is, surely, beyond the petty and dishonest politics of the present day.
Those who gave, sacrificed for what? Alternative facts? Dishonestly edited videos? Soundbites? Outright lies told by shameless people? Our children, laying wreaths for their ancestors, deserve better than that.
© Mac Logan