Friday, November 09, 2007

Armistice

Poppy fieldNews of political correctness gone wrong and half-arsed council priorities were splashed over the front page of The Metro this morning and for once I’m in total agreement with their indignation.

It seems that an Armistice Day parade in Castle Bromwich has been cancelled as the police will be needed elsewhere to prevent two rival groups of football fans knocking seven bells out of each other; a rifle regiment in Chepstow has been told to parade without their rifles as the council leaders there fear such brazen displays of weaponry will encourage gun crime (like it needs anymore encouragement with the amount of gun based dramas on our TV screens) and apparently collection boxes in Kidderminster have had to be fitted with tamper alarms as so many of them are being broken into and the contents nicked.

What a wonderful world.

Whilst I realize that one day WWI and WWII will pass almost blandly into the musty annals of history along with the likes of the Peninsula and Boer War, at present it’s important to note that for some the events they signify still exist in living memory and we all should make the effort to remember and acknowledge the huge loss of life that was incurred. Our current world and our very freedoms (such as they are) were formed out of the smoking and bloody aftermaths of these events and it’s both callous and ungrateful to ignore this fact.

Now I realize I’m probably being over sensitive as I’m lucky enough to have a granddad who is still alive and who still retains vivid memories of being in the navy during the Second World War and who came out of the conflict with a host of medals, stories and most of his mates dead... but even without that living spur I’d hope I’d have the decency and respect to recognize how important it is to mark the 11th November.

It’s a question of dignity.

For us as well as for those who have gone before...

15 comments:

Rol Hirst said...

Back in my brass band days, we used to play every year on Remembrance Sunday, and there was something very moving about being in the presence of those old soldiers. It'll be a very sad day when none of them are around to mark it, but no way should the rest of us forget.

Daisy said...

i agree with you wholeheartedly and it is a shame when people stop to realize the meaning of the day...in the states it is no longer remembered as a day from work to honor those in service and to be honest it appauls me...

my father served at the end of ww2 and 5 of my great uncles...i grew up hearing the tales of the war and was able to see the effect it had on each man...however, i have always remember each person i know who has served on november 11 not just the ones who served in ww1 or ww2...for me it seems to be a shame not to tell those who were in service in some way that they are remembered...

i am honored to have these brave men and women serve in my steed...to do the things i have been unable to do...and to suffer the effects of service they carry with them their lifetime...

i do remember and am grateful...

Steve said...

People seemed to make more of an effort years ago but I noticed about 15 years ago that the importance of the day had begun to be downgraded... now in many places it feels like it's just a token gesture; a meaningless tradition. I'm sure the rot had set in way before that though, I can recall my granddad complaining about things when I was in my pre-teens. A sense of gravity has been lost... people, politicians especially, just lip-synch now to whatever noble proclamation they think people want to hear without really thinking about it...

The Hitch said...

Good post Steve
I wear a poppy every day at this time of year, but Of course poppy sellers are being banned from certain areas of London.
It would be nice to see some ethnics wearing them,particularly as many of their ancestors gave their lives and service during WW1 &2

Steve said...

Thanks Hitch, though it disturbs me that poppy sellers have been banned from the capital of all places! Good grief - what was the thinking behind that? "Political correctness" yet again I suppose?

The Sagittarian said...

I wish I could remember who, but someone said "History has taught us we have learnt nothing from history".
I agree, but I guess I live that everyday..people "negotiate" away stuff that wasn't theirs to give away (lunch breaks, tea breaks, penal rates...)- all fought for by someone ages ago. WE are right to remember. Mourn for the dead - fight for the living.

Steve said...

people "negotiate" away stuff that wasn't theirs to give away (lunch breaks, tea breaks, penal rates...)- all fought for by someone ages ago... sadly this is very true. Maybe this is just the natural way of things? Or maybe it highlights how truly futile war and aggression really are...?

MOTHER OF MANY said...

Recently I have found that every charity box that I put money into has been tied down, with chains as well as string!My local garage has only just put out a collection box after the last one being stolen a few months ago,this box is well and truly
secured to the counter.
What has gone so badly wrong with society!

Steve said...

Geez, they'll be electrifying them next. I'm sure it's only a miserable minority that would stoop so low as to steal charity collection tins - and I'm sure such thefts have always occured - but it says an awful lot about our society when shopkeepers have to tie such things down with chains as well as string!

Annie said...

Hi Steve, it's difficult to know what to add after all the fabulous comments from you and your fellow bloggers. Um.. last night on Radio Five Live one of the guests was saying that people are honouring Remembrance Sunday more this year than ever. It does contradict your comment but whichever is true, it doesn't alter the fact that all who fight to give us freedom should be acknowledged. I'm saddened by the things you mentioned in you main post.
There was a 109-year-old on TV this morning who fought in the trenches in WW1 and witnessed his friends being blown up. It was very moving. Did you see it?
Great article Steve.... thought-provoking.

Steve said...

Hi Annie, it's reassuring to know other places up and down the country have got their priorities right - hopefully the stories mentioned in yesterdays Metro were the minority! Alas I missed the WWI veteran being interviewed... busy feeding a certain baby!

-eve- said...

> It’s a question of dignity.

I like that line...
Yes, I'd celebrate Armistice Day too, if it was part of my heritage, as it is yours... :-)

Steve said...

Thanks Eve: that doesn't surprise me at all. I think anybody with any sense of decency would take time out on Remembrance Sunday to pay their respects...

The Hitch said...

Beautiful picture Steve (+:
im only here due to the fact that my great grandmothers fiance' died in Egypt and his best friend Harry Dewsbury survived the somme and married her.

Steve said...

Thanks Hitch, it's very sobering to realize what a chance thing it is that any of us are here. I often think how different things would be if my granddad hadn't survived the war... I'm sure the world would be a better place if more people reflected on how lucky they all are to be here too.