Monday, 15 November 2010

Two Minutes Silence

My Grandfather's WWII Medals
Yesterday was Remembrance Sunday. I spent the morning with Wycliffe Baptist Church, Cemetery Junction, where we observed the 2 minutes silence as part of the service. It was good to be with friends and Park Ward neighbours remembering those who gave their lives for our freedom in the two world wars and who continue give their lives as they serve our country in Afganistan and elsewhere.

 I believe it is important that post war generations continue to remember the cost in lives that war caused. While when I was younger war seemed to be far away, despite the long running conflict in Northern Ireland, conflict and war death, it seems to me, has come every closer in the last 10 years.

I, like the majority of people today, have never been in a war or in the armed forces. However World War II had a strong effect on my family, my father was evacuated to his grandmother's in Wales and came back a first language Welsh speaker. One of my grandfather's was conscripted and didn't come back home until about 1946, his medals are shown in the photo, and my mother was less than a month old when Hitler sent the Luftwaffe to London for the heavist air raid of 1940.

So the war is in the background of my family. As I look around I see friends and meet people who have served in Afganistan or Iraq and I remember walking around Guildford the week after the IRA pub bombings in the 1970's so see a strong need to be thankful for the sacrifice of men and women who die and are maimed in war.

As a 17 year old I discovered the poems of Wilfred Owen and the other WWI poets. I was also fortunate to go the Verdun battlefield and see the largest graveyard in the world.

So it was good to stand for 2 minutes and contemplate what peace costs and how many people have suffered inorder for me to be able to write this blog in peace and my children to grow up, I hope, never knowing what war is.

Finally Wilfred Owen's most famous poem, Ducle Et Decorum Est.