Saturday, 11 November 2006

Fight the Good Fight

I don't remember him because I never knew him, but I do remember his picture. His presence in my Grandmother's heart was reflected in the large sepia photograph of him in uniform hanging on the parlour wall. Her brother, my great uncle Herbert P.

He was a regular soldier and had served eight years with the 2nd Battalion of the Sherwood Forresters. He was stationed in India when he was recalled back to England to serve in the Great War in France. He was wounded within a few months and returned home to Derbyshire, to his parents and his two sisters, to convalesce, then went back to the battle field and was mortally wounded during an attack, east of the village of Ginchy. He died of his wounds a few days later on 27 September 1916 and is buried at St Sever Cemetery, Rouen. I know this because of the world wide web, and because of the hours that veterans have spent researching and posting military history on the web.

I know that my father witnessed Airforce comrades burnt to death; he did not speak of it, but it was given to me years later as an explanation for his mental illness. I have friends and cousins, now retired, who have served in the Airforce, the Navy and the Army. An acquaintance has just returned from Afghanistan. There is a large Army training camp close to this town. War continues to be part of life in this supposed peace time.

Today village war memorials are the focus for veterans, young and old, to remember, and in this village, they stood and stopped the through traffic while the bugler sounded the beginning and the end of the silence. I stood with the windows open and heard it clearly echoing in the quiet minute.

These echoes are reminders that so far we all have been incapable of dealing with the negative reactions we have to others that are different to us. We react from fear. Psychologists have attempted to analyse the psyches of those that led people into war, and researched the reasons why people followed them.

Individual lives lost, families devastated, blood lines ended. Every day. All over this wonderous planet. I wear my Poppy and remember. And thank those that continue to Fight the Good Fight.


Blogger Lily said...

Armistice Day is so sad. I refuse to wear a poppy for the same reasons as in your last two paragraphs but doubt there is such a thing as a 'good fight'. I remember studying the poems of Wilfred Owen for 'O'level, I think that's when I became a pacifist.

Tuesday, 14 November 2006 at 22:06:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Lily, I know what you mean, and Wilfred Owen speaks for us all, but my point is that I wear a Poppy as a thank you for those people, including the pacifists, who fought and worked during the World Wars to protect our country, who fought the Good Fight, that needed to be fought - whoever started it and for whatever reason, the Fight had to be Fought - and I know people who have served recently in theatres of war and terror and who continue to serve, and they regret that they have to be there doing what has to be done, but their not being pacifists enables me to sleep easier in my bed. There is so much going on that never gets detailed in the news ...

Thursday, 16 November 2006 at 23:26:00 GMT  

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