Lest we forget…11/11

On 11/11/18 at the 11th hour, the armistice was signed – declaring the end of the first world war. As a result, we wear poppies to reflect and respect all the soldiers that sacrificed their lives in order to protect their country and loved ones. Every year on this day we have a 2 min silence in order to remember the casualties of war (including the innocent).

Earlier this week I was asked “Whether we should continue remembering?” and it caused me to think deeply about today and its significance to our lives. I remember as a young child that around the beginning of November a lot of people were wearing red flowers. I felt really intrigued by them they looked so simple yet beautiful and I really wanted one for myself. As I grew a little in primary school, I learnt that these flowers were called ‘Poppies’ and that we wore them as sign of respect towards the people who lost their lives during the war. As a grew a little more in secondary school, I also learnt about the brutality of war and what it actually entailed. Consequently in sixth form, I am able to sit at my computer screen today and write this sentimental piece with a decent wealth of knowledge regarding the subject.

Shell Shock. This is a post traumatic stress disorder which terrorised what was left of ‘a life’ that the soldiers had left. It left them paralysed, blind and deaf. To add to the misery, electrocution was one of the only methods of treatment to conquer the disorder. Some survived however other’s couldn’t cope through the pain. Life offof the front line was an on going nightmare which many wanted to escape. The atrocities of war permanently scared a generation and still some people are suffering the after effects.

This is just an example of the brutality of war. The word war makes me cringe because it is an event which glorifies the destruction of humanity. Some young children in this day and age look up to the soldiers fighting to protect their countries and admire them as “heroes”. Heroes that they wish to become some day. However, that day should never come because there shouldn’t be a war to fight in. There shouldn’t be such violence in the world.

Personally, I don’t believe that soldiers are “heroes” but I do believe that they are brave men & women who are fulfilling their moral duty of protecting their loved ones and the country they call home. I am not saying this to insult anyone but I think using the term “heroes” is another way where we are subconsciously glorifying war. Additionally, it is another way in which we truly forget who we are paying our respects to because it generalises the masses. Rather than respecting how each individual person has contributed towards the war effort, we just assume that they are all one mass power of good which makes it easy to just remember their sacrifice and disengage with the true purpose of today. Although this may seem a mouthful and difficult to understand I am basically trying to say that “Remembrance day is an opportunity to learn and engage with what has happened in the past. It is a way for us to acknowledge that war should never be glorified and that we should always stand against it. It is a way for us to teach and preach those who don’t know about what happened and to prevent such events from happening again.”

You don’t need to research about every single casualty of war but simply learning about one/ listening to someone’s story could really open your eyes and change your prospective on life and humanity in general. This is because each individual that died was unique and that’s what made them human. The government find it easy to send away troops because they don’t get to know each soldier, they don’t have an emotional connection with each soldier, they just send away a mass of people and leave them to do their job. That’s all it is to them, a job. If they fail the job, they will grieve for some time but then they will replace them with another mass of prosperous soldiers and then the vicious cycle repeats.

So in response to the question I mentioned earlier “Should we continue remembering?” YES! It is the least we can do.Such a simple act means a lot to many grieving families and spreads the message that war is a brutal event.

Overall, I would like to end this blog by once again paying my respects to all those who died whether it be the soldiers or the innocent women or children who were killed. If it hadn’t been for their bravery, I wouldn’t be able to write this post today.

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