A friend pointed out that we should not remember war, as that glorifies it … but there’s another way to ‘remember’ it, and that’s what I wrote about on my earlier Knitted Poppies blogpost (Why is the Writer Knitting Poppies?) Well, we knitted 350 between us ….
If we forget the World War(s) which brought 11.00 O’clock on11th November into our national calendar, and those who died, horribly, and ‘meaninglessly’, shedding the blood those poppies represent, we’re in danger of forgetting that war is terrible, horrible, and solves nothing … And, we forget that for each human being killed by war, there is a family, friends, a break in community … suffering beyond the killings … and we add in all who have died in wars ever since … and wonder why human beings and their governments never learn …
Another friend wrote, earlier today, about how it is the younger generations who remember and support Remembrance, certainly in her village all ages come to the community events … interesting … Here’s my response to her blog … How our parents and grandparents reacted – hardly glorifying war by remembering, more by sorrowing over it … that is what I was raised on, that is why we have Remembrance Day …
‘You are possibly right that our parents and grandparents (some had lived through 2 ‘world wars’) did not want to ‘remember’ in local group activities, but I remember that the Cenotaph service was always heard on the radio, with a very reverent and subdued attitude. They did not talk about their experiences … it was too raw and too complicated.
My youngest Uncle had been bombing Germany on his 21st birthday. Not something you want to think about – and he only told his children during his last illness, and they told us a few years later.
My Dad was obviously very proud of his ‘men’: he was in the Royal Artillary with an anti-aircraft crew on the south coast, but again, there was nothing else said about his war, just the odd remark if a photo appeared during family de-cluttering. And that he’d had a wonderful Old English Sheepdog at the time …
I think the Wars changed people and brought to end the lovely freedom and fun they were having as young adults. Some leaving University and straight into military training, and if they survived, into ‘re-building the country’ work instead of, for example, becoming a professional musician (my youngest uncle had a music degree, but went back and trained as an architect, building and re-building in the North East.)
So … it is up to us to ‘remember’ and maybe to keep on working to make the world a more peaceful and generous place (which it certainly still resists being …) …
As for World War One, I had never even heard of anyone who was killed in our family, until I did Family History research, and discovered 2 families shattered by the loss of eldest sons … In both these families of 3 boys, the eldest was killed and the two younger brothers seem to’ve been deeply affected in life changing ways … So today I shall be thinking of Bryant Yorke Lodge and Louis Feaveryear … nephew and cousin to my 2 grandmothers. And writing this has made me cry (a rare thing) … the echoes of war … Debbie, I’m going to post this – I was going to write about it later but seems I’ve written the basics of it now …thank you for eloquently raising the subject here …’
I knitted myself a poppy to wear … and found several of us poppy knitters had all thought of the same idea … Now back to the writing … not sure if I can squeeze any Remembrance Day events into it, we’ll see …
With thanks for Debbie for her post, and to my cousin Alex Wheeler for showing us some mementos from his dad’s flying days …
What a wonderful post, Clare, and the cascade of your knitted poppies is spectacular. I notice there has been a real outpouring of handknitted and crocheted poppies this year, and I think it’s a heartwarming development – it takes a lot more effort and love and care to knit a poppy than to put money in a box for a paper one, and it seems appropriate that each handmade poppy will be different and individual, just like those it commemorates. I hope this becomes a new tradition that will continue from year to year. We won’t forget.
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Thanks for your nice comments, Debbie! Appreciated. 🙂
I have always found Remembrance Day profoundly moving. In my childhood in Scotland there were special rituals, certain hymns and psalms were always sung, and a bagpiper played “The Floo’ers o the Forest”, a heart-wrenching lament for the Battle of Flodden in 1513, but just as relevant today. I can’t see how this glorifies war in any way; and one has only to read any poetry from either of the world wars to see that the participants didn’t glorify it either. So who does the glorifying? Not as far as I can see any-one attending a service of remembrance.
So agree, Margaret. It is a strange way to see things, yet there are people who embrace it … Which moved me to write 2 pieces on ‘Poppy Day’ themes this year!
I’m old enough to have regularly bought poppies from the Veterans of WWI. I never thought of it as glorifying war but to remember them. Such a senseless loss.
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