Sunday, 8 November 2015

Remembering

I look forward to Remembrance Sunday.  I think it's important to remember those who make our way of life possible, who have laid their lives on the line.

I also remember the phrase 'lions led by donkeys'.

The armistice that stopped the fighting of WWI was signed on 11 November 1918 at 11am local time.  The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month was so striking.  However negotiations had been going on for some time.  There is a good chance that peace could have broken out a lot earlier and a lot of lives saved.  According to official records over 10,000 soldiers on all sides died, were injured or reported missing on 11 November 1918.  Some will have died due to their injuries received earlier in the war.  However, sadly, some died because they were shot on that last morning.

Not only that, but the armistice was not a peace treaty.  It was a truce.  Between the understandable bitterness of the French and the idealism of the USA unused to the politics of Europe, it was desperately flawed.  The peace treaties that followed at the Paris Peace Conference were equally flawed.  There was a feeling from the French that the Germans should pay.  There was a feeling from the Germans that they had been betrayed by their politicians, the same politicians that limped along until Hitler came along and took advantage of that feeling of betrayal.

I believe we should remember the courage of those who died in wars defending us.  I think it is more important to remember the utter stupidity that got us into those wars in the first place.  The first Armistice Day, the first 11th day of the 11th month, was after WWI, a destructively pointless and avoidable war fueled by generals and politicians who ignored military and political developments from the last fifty years and repeated the horrors on a much larger scale.

Worse than that, the slaughter, horror and pointless waste led good men to sit on their hands during the 1930s as bad men planned for war.

I really believe it is important to remember, not just the sound of the last post and the sadness of those dead and injured, but why every politician wants to be seen with a poppy on Remembrance Sunday.

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