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I haven't ever really reconciled myself with this. Those of you who have heard me talk about the first world war in particular know the depth of dismay I experience even thinking about the stupid, pointless sacrifices made in the name of the 11th hour. Wilfred Owen is a clear example of the talent wasted, more poignant though is the 21 year old lad, 2nd Lt James Kirk VC buried next to him in the Ors communal cemetery who knowingly sacrificed himself  to try and achieve their goal. A goal set in the name of prosecuting war until the last second.

I have not bought a poppy, I don't feel greatly either way about those who wear one of any colour. I do donate to charities involved in helping those who's lives are damaged by war. If I observe this day it is for me a specific memorial to those who died in wars prosecuted in the name of freedom but ultimately for the profit of the powerful. It's a bitter remberance, the knowledge that the heroism is cynically lauded by Them What Has. The forelock tugging do-or-die is something emotively powerful to me but falls flat when I analyse. The knowledge that each time the need to prosecute war has overlasted its useful function disgusts me. How many lives must be destroyed to "Send a message"?

I can find solace that heroism has an immediate, lasting and justifiable impact on those there who were saved. I can appreciate the small comfort it must offer those left behind. I can be inspired to defend my principles and offer protection at any cost to those I love and what I believe in. Ultimately the words of the survivors ring true.
"I guess we missed our chance to be heros"

Heros are by default the dead folk and no amount of praise brings them back.
To return to Wilfred Owen. if there is a poem I would read on this day it would be "Dulce et Decorum Est". The bitter, aware, cynicism of that verse speaks volumes as to the motivation behind the suffering of those caught in The Great War.
But I'm not about to cry at work.

OML says it very much in his own way here, starting off my own train of thought: http://omlongden.blogspot.com/2011/11/poppy-season.html

Note I don't argue about the necessity for conflict, that is a different debate and far more complicated.

July 2017

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