Thursday, 11 November 2010

What Did You Do Today?

As a man of 38 years of age, the World Wars are part of my history, the subject of pages in books. For reasons that I can't fully grasp, the events that cause us all to remember today are now a part of my present for the first time.

At 11 o'clock I was with my family, in a public place, where we all observed the two-minute silence. For me it was the right place to be with the right people - my family; my loved ones. I held my daughter tight as I gave thanks to countless lost youngsters for the sacrifice upon which my freedom and my family are now built. 

I pondered those youngsters who, like my great-granadad, went over the top at the Somme. I am probably twice the age that they were then. I remember war films where the actors  portrayed war heroes as rugged men who even now seem older than me - but I am not convinced. The lads who today would be the hoodies that so many deride were the kids who were given a gun and a duty to defend something. They were scared, fighting against other youngsters who were scared too. Many had left girlfriends behind, and many families that should have found life like mine has were never given that chance. Babies that should have been born to happy couples were never concieved; futures evapourated in the squalor and mud of a field.

I looked at my brown-eyed girls today and dedicated that very moment to the men and women whose lost lives guaranteed mine, whose own futures were sacrificed that my own family had that gift. I realised in that moment too that I had a price to pay - and that was to ensure that as far as I could, the generation of little ones among whom my children number remember too. I pray that wars may cease, that the lessons of countless millions of needless deaths be learned, that war be something only a history teacher should teach. 

Always remember and never forget - that is our job. That is our price and our children's price, to acknowledge what you did today and know that it came at a great cost.

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