Go! Remember our Soldiers

Posted on November 8th, 2008 by Lib

The Soldiers at Lauro

Young are our dead
Like babies they lie
The wombs they blest once
Not healed dry
And yet – too soon
Into each space
A cold earth falls
On colder face.
Quite still they lie
These fresh-cut reeds
Clutched in earth
Like winter seeds
But they will not bloom
When called by spring
To burst with leaf
And blossoming
They sleep on
In silent dust
As crosses rot
And helmets rust.

- Spike Milligan

Its Remembrance Sunday, this weekend here in the UK. A day traditionally put aside to remember all those who have given their lives for the peace and freedom we enjoy today. It’s marked by wearing a mock up of a flower – a poppy! as we’re encouraged to wear our poppies with pride.

I know that it’s important to remember this day, a day of respect and a day to honour our soldiers and a day to reflect on the sacrifices offered by generations before us. Even, to remember the soldiers that are out there fighting for our futures presently.

Yet, I don’t know anyone that has fought in past wars. I understand the sacrifices that have been made and the liberty that is allowed me today but I still don’t know anyone.

As of a couple of years ago there were only 100 WW1 vets in the USA, 15 in France, 4 in Canada, 1 in the UK and none in Australia and New Zealand.

So how important is it to remember? And if it is, why?

William Lund sums it up quite nicely for me, ‘We study the past to understand the present; we understand the present to guide the future’.

Feel free to tell me about your war heroes and why its important to you to remember.

24 Responses to “Go! Remember our Soldiers”

  1. A/C says:

    GDay Lib
    Welcome Back from you break.

    The 11 hour, of the 11 day or the 11 month WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM!

    A show of respect, a sign of a nations pride, a tribute to those whose gave everything they had.

    WE lost our last Gallipoli Veteran Last year I think it was….

    On ANZAC Day a family member now marches in the place of a veteran who has past. Those two frail often ride in an open car.

    We must remember those who fought for our countries, those who sacrificed their lives for ours and those men women and children whose lives were forever changed.
    We must remember the past, in order to understand the present, so we can move on through to the future.
    How else do we understand who we are today.

    • Lib says:

      Thanks AC, all good now.

      Yes I completely agree with you, my fear is that as we move through generation to generation (not even that far actually, the next generation) the vets of WW1 will be forgotten and recent history will take over old history.

      Perhaps its just me getting old.

      • A/C says:

        GDay Lib
        your not getting older your getting wiser…:)

        We still a few WW1 vets left… one past away today aged 108.. he was 18 when he joined…. but there is not many….

        As you get older you find the past is more important…

  2. Purple13 says:

    Yes we’ll be remembering all who gave their lives this remembrance day. The Royal Albert Hall event on Saturday nights is as stirring as it is poignant and years of Scout parades as a youngster – well we were bought up to show proper respect.

    It was the highlight of our local town brass band (in which i played some years ago) to do the Legion Hall’s remembrance service – all the old war tunes – a right good sing along but I don’t think there was ever a dry eye in the house when our lead trumpeter played the last post on an old bugel.

    • Lib says:

      Thanks Purple, a brass band always brings a tear to my eye no matter what the occassion. Especially the Samaratins at Christmas.

      But I think a ceremony like that helps people to remember as it takes people ‘closer’ to that time.

  3. Our day is called Veteran’s Day and it is honor of all who have served. Memorial Day which is in honor for those who sacrificed their lives is like Rememberance Day. I think it is in May. I always honor those days and think how lucky I am to have been born in the U.S. I also really miss Charles M. Schulz of Peanuts because he would always honor those days with a beautiful tribute to WWI in the cartoon. Thank you for the reminder!

    • Lib says:

      Hi CC,

      I wonder why the USA’s is in May? Any idea?

      The UK’s is the second Sunday of November, the Sunday nearest to 11 November (Remembrance Day), which is the anniversary of the end of the hostilities of the First World War at 11 a.m. in 1918.

      And yes it does make you fee lucky to be born in the country that you are, thanks for the reminder.

      • Bo Snr says:

        In the UK rememberence day was originally for the first world war.
        This was before the US took a major part in WW2

        • Lib says:

          I think that’s only fair.

          Remembrance day is increasingly becoming about all the wars, present one’s included. Did any of our relatives fight in the war?

      • Veteran’s Day is in May because that is when the founders established the day in honor of those who died on the Union side of the U.S. Civil War. The holiday became popular after WWI. The date does not appear to be associated with any battle or specific event. I had to go look that one up! Great question.

  4. Jim says:

    Ta for the reminder Lib and I’d no idea Spike Milligan composed that…

    The expat Brits here in Dubai tend to do the poppy thing with suits but not casual clothes, funny how that works!

  5. Anholito Quevevera says:

    Actually Lib, we also have our war heroes from ww2 also.

    They fought against the Japanese actually with the Americans for freedom. But the Filipino vets did not get the equal right of the normal vet. Actually they are still fighting for this recognition and I nominate Mr Franco Arcebal for this activity as a Filipino hero.

    He fight for equal rights for all our vets.

    Pinoy for you!

    God bless to all vets.

    • Lib says:

      Welcome Anholito!

      And you are right, I’ve only ever thought about the larger countries being involved in the world wars but I guess it was indeed a ‘world’ war.

      I hope they get the recognition they deserve.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • The Philipino Veteran’s who served in WWII for the U.S. also did not receive recognition or the same benefits as others in the military. The last I heard is that they were still fighting for it.

  6. Svasti says:

    My maternal grandpa fought in WWII and came back an alcoholic. But not a mean one, a jolly one. He spent most of his life after that drinking himself into a stupor to try and numb memories like seeing his good buddy being blown to pieces. My grandma spent her married life seeking out and watering down his bottles of whisky stashed all over the house.

    My mother never had a sober father, and I remember him being sober a handful of times in my life.

    But he was still a caring and loving man. On his deathbed, he was hallucinating and as far as he was concerned the war was still happening and he was surrounded by snipers.

    He is one of my heroes simply for making it back in one piece, and for serving his country. He was one of the famed Rats of Tobruk – a well known Australian army unit.

    For all of the people who laid down their own hopes and dreams for their lives in order to serve their country and protect their people… I salute you.

    • Lib says:

      Wow, thanks for sharing Svasti.

      Your story reminds me that it really wasn’t that long ago and it’s not just the vets that have endured suffering but the families around them also.

      I cannot begin to imagine what it was like for him, I guess only his fellow soldiers can.

      And your comment touched on alcoholism as well, whilst its a dark and bleak disease, the alcoholic isn’t always so.

      Big up your Grandpa I say and I’m going to go and read about the Rats of Tobruk right now.

      • Svasti says:

        My mum was never allowed to bring home friends because my grandma was mortified that someone might see my grandpa drunk. She liked to keep these things quiet, ‘swept under the rug’. And this is something that my parents carried on with too. Secrecy is a rot in your body and mind. I’m kind of the opposite – wanting all the secrets out in the open.

        My memories of my grandpa when I was young was of a jolly old man. He used to laugh a bit like Santa, so we were never sure if he wasn’t Santa in disguise!

        In his uniform going off to war he was very handsome. He was Scottish, so I’m guessing my grandma liked the uniform and the accent – they were married not long before he went away.

        I can’t imagine what he went through either. I do wonder what he would have made of his life had he not had those experiences, and been able to function relatively normally…

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