Another Armistice Day has passed.
This year, along with my usual thoughts of what soldiers have been through in the name of their country, I also started to wonder if one day we will forget.
Every year people claim “We will remember them”, but that number of people seems to be diminishing. As generations proceed and multiply, that link to the past becomes faded, unnoticed, or sometimes even disrespected.
There is a screen shot going round the internet at the moment of some teenage girl’s status, declaring… “Fuck the people that died ‘serving our country’ nobody told them to go to war, obviously there was a fifty fifty chance they were going to die. I don’t feel bad, I don’t support war. They got what was coming to them.”
Whilst she is entitled to this opinion, it appears to be a very uneducated one. Yes, many men enlisted to the army when the First World War was declared of their own free will, and they knew exactly what they were getting into; but it was a case of fight, or be conquered. It was a case of being patriotic, fighting for your home. Some boys even lied about their age so they could fight. War is serious and these men stepped up in defence of the allied countries. You have to respect that. The majority of them probably knew that they were going to their deaths, but that did not stop them from enlisting. With pride they fought for us.
This teenager is right not to support war, it is a horrible evil, but in some cases, as said earlier, it is a case of fight or be conquered. We should have respect for those who fought for our country, protecting it from evil. Do you think they would have bothered fighting for our country if they knew the kind of people we would turn into; ignorant, arrogant, and just plain rude?
Respect for our war heroes, is something that has been instilled in me since childhood. My dad always told me (and still does) about his grandad who fought in the Battle of the Somme; the hell he went through and the kind of person he became after bearing witness to such atrocities. And it’s not just about respecting these soldiers for what they have done; it’s appreciating how lucky you are. If my great-grandad had died in battle, then my grandad, my dad, and I would not have existed. He was very lucky not to have been struck by some stray bullet.
We’re also lucky that we are living in an age of consumerism. We can have anything we want whenever we want it. During those years of fighting, the whole country was rationed, living in poverty, as every effort was made to win the war. And many of us have houses over our heads that are unlikely to be blown up by the opposition any time soon. Those brave men fought so we could have this sense of security and we should respect that.
Wearing a poppy and marking Armistice Day is a sign of respect and gratitude; qualities that all of us should endeavour to hold; it shows that we are aware of this world and our place in it.
As modern wars are fought maybe respect for our armed forces will remain steadfast, as the poppy becomes a symbol for a new generation of proud soldiers and their families. Maybe, that girl who disrespects soldiers so much will learn to be more compassionate. And just maybe, Armistice Day will never be forgotten.