Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A year of forced remembrance

Rugeley military grave

It has, of necessity, been a year tinged with sadness.  There has been so much written, said and done in connection with the 100th anniversary of the First World War that one can't do anything but be reminded continually of the miserable fact that hundreds of thousands of men - and women - died in seemingly stupid circumstances.

For many communities, it has been hard to be forced to remember the loss of life of ancestors who often died terribly young.
For families, it has been even worse. Here in Rugeley, another military grave remembers not just one young person (who died of his wounds after the war), but a young woman as well, who also died in service (in the Second World War).  Families just have had to bear it.

3 comments:

  1. An entire generation, down the drain, as they said. If not dead on the fields of battle or in a hospital, then forever scarred by the experience. The grave reminds us of that.

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  2. It's important to remember the mindlessness, too. World War I was about hurling the bodies of thousands and thousands of young people at machine guns and artillery, literally for the sole purpose of washing their national flags with their blood. There was zero moral or military point to it. Poets at time frequently called this "dying for those who died before", and today we read that as some kind of notion of honouring ancestors who'd fought under the same flag. Nope; not ancestors. Literally, the guys who died yesterday.

    The lesson of WWI -- forgotten within a generation -- is that powerful people can't be trusted behave decently. If it's true that the immediate reaction to this wisdom was no wiser -- the do-nothingness of the 20s and 30s that led straight to WWII -- it's also true that the essential lesson is still just as relevant.

    Robin
    Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit

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    Replies
    1. What is depressing is that people 'forget' this lesson with regularity. It is almost like a ten-year cycle, in which the population allows more power to the 'elite', then regrets it, then forgets the lesson, and then allows more power to the elite again.... and so on.
      It is indeed very depressing.

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