Tonight we remember the day that Britain entered into The First World War. One of the most seismic events in history, an event whose effects are still being felt today in places like Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
I will never truly be able to express my emotions regarding this conflict. They ebb and flow over time. Sometimes it is rage, sometimes fear, disbelief, immense pride, or a sense of bewilderment than such an event happened.
Perhaps one day I will be able to find the words to express my deep sorrow for this awful event. I feel one of the reasons why the words are hard to come, is the sheer horror of what transpired. Boys younger than myself, sent in their millions into a war unlike any other. Boys sent to die, to be disfigured both physically and mentally in ways never seen before. I think of a recently discovered relative, Private Joseph Jackson who fell, in 1916. As of yet, I don’t know how, where or on what exact date he died. But knowing of his fate, brings the conflict even closer to home.
The forces that brought this conflict into being – nationalism, xenophobia, fear, distrust and selfishness are being felt throughout Europe more so now than ever. We are in danger of slipping back into a mentality which can only bring about more suffering.
This is a slight against the memory of every man and woman who gave their life during this conflict, and all those since. We owe it to them to remember, to mourn, but most importantly to learn. If we do not, we are bound to repeat history.
Remember, and learn.
Paths Of Glory© IWM (Art.IWM ART 518)
The true face of war. Never glorify it. Never think of it as anything other than horror.