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Remembrance Day 2018

Rembrance sunday


Some of my readers have been with me long enough to know that, every November 11, I pause to reflect and thank those that gave their lives to ensure that we can live ours every single day. 

Every year when I was growing up my Father would proudly purchase - and wear - a poppy on his lapel.  For him, it was a way to remember those friends, family members and army comrades that had been lost in both World War 1 and World War 2.  Every year we would go to the Cenotaph and watch the solemn laying down of a wreath to remember those that had been lost. Now every year I pause to remember, and use my blog as a way to commemorate this tradition. I do this partly to remember my Father who fought in the jungles of Burma for 6 long years, but I do it mostly for those that lost their lives since WWI fighting for their country and protecting our freedom: we should never forget their sacrifice.

My bestie, Pammie, wrote a poem several years ago.  Once again, I would like to highlight that poem on my blog.  It so eloquently recgnizes the millions of men -so many from working class backgrounds - that left their homes to go to far off places to fight the enemy.  So many of them were so young.  Today, they would not have been old enough to vote.  Or old enough to legally drink.  Some would have only just been allowed to apply for a driving license.

When you look at your sons or your grand-sons or your nephews under the age of 21 - I ask you to look at them and think... how could I have said goodbye and wished them luck, hoping that I would see them again one day.  It wasn't just 100 years ago, or even 80 years ago, many have done the same in recent decades.  However, in commemoration of 100 years since the end of World War 1, I would like to dedicate this post to those that lost their lives in this "war to end all wars".

Pammie's poem so poignantly captures the essence of so many of those soldiers who lost their lives, especially in WW1.  Young men from working class homes who never truly knew life only hard work in mines, in factories and on farms - with a salary that wasn't guaranteed and barely made ends meet.   These young men were sent from their families and were exposed to an unimaginable hell in the trenches.  Never to return home.

The Photograph 

He didn't know his country only his street
never saw waves or fields full of wheat
he'd seen many canyons in the mines far below
as he shovelled the sweat with the coal
He worked hard for his supper this coal dusty man
Married my gran money already spent
moonlighting flits couldn't pay rent
Dossed down with neighbours on hard wooden floors
shared out the bread and the womanly chores
the pride slowly ebbed from this destitute man
Never went to church in borrowed Sunday best
but polished his shoes in his worn holy vest
waited on dinner pathetic pale stew
sat on hand me down chairs not long glossy pews
Yet he worshiped his own this unholy man
Saved by sirens war in France
Fair exchange arms for pence
smart in his uniform buttons shone bright
she stood on the pavement and waved him from sight
gone was the soldier a very young man
Still she yearns for her courageous young man
now sitting like stone pale and wan
he was framed long ago for his sweethearts mantle
he died in the war she lit him a candle
and cried for her Bill a very brave man.