I’ve said it frequently: nobody does pomp like the British and this is certainly epitomised with their commemorations. Their annual Festival of Remembrance of WW1 on the 11 November is always particularly poignant. Having visited the Normandy WW2 cemeteries this year, Poppy Day was even more touching.
I watched the service in the Royal Albert Hall.
There were the usual quotes of some famous war poets:
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. (from For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon)
Perhaps someday I shall not shrink in pain To see the passing of the dying year, And listen to the Christmas songs again Although You cannot hear. But, though kind Time may many joys renew, There is one greatest joy I shall not know Again, because my heart for loss of You Was broken, long ago. (from Perhaps 1916 By Vera Brittain, a nurse in WW1)
When you go home Tell them of us and say For your tomorrow We gave our today (composed at the end of WW1 by wartime codebreaker, John Maxwell Edmonds, often called the Kohima epitaph)
The idealistic slogan "The war to end all wars" from the H.G. Wells’ 1914 book The War That Will End War is usually used to describe WW1 little realising that the aftermath of that war contributed almost directly to WW2.
For many years we didnt acknowledge Poppy Day or its significance in many Irish lives. Happily, we’ve rectified that. The Irish Times today related the similarities of these past horrors with the catastrophe of current conflicts in the two articles on page 22 which emphasise the need for us all to take the side of PEACE.