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Posts Tagged ‘Armistice Day’

I have just been watching the Remembrance Sunday commemorations on BBC1, a highly emotional experience, especially as I watch our Queen and her Consort, who is now ageing quite fast. I find the march-past of the veterans to be of special poignancy, knowing that they have fought for the freedom of the country.

remembrance sunday, remember, armistice day, war memorials in london

Remember

I’ve said this before, one of the things I really, truly love about this country are the traditions. I love that they commemorate significant events in the history of the country and the world. I have attended as many as I possibly can over the last 15 years and have attended Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph at least 3 times (my memory fails me as to whether I’ve been more often). Like Trooping the Colour it is one of the events on the annual calendar that I feel compelled to attend…from a sense of gratitude, thanksgiving, of obligation, of community, of being a citizen of the country.

Remembrance Sunday is a time for families who have lost loved ones in conflicts to come together to honour and remember them, for the veterans to receive thanks and pay tribute to those that knew who died in those conflicts. A time of national remembrance.

My daughter and I agree to disagree on whether there is any point in remembering these past events. Her thoughts are that war is pointless, that people go into the army through choice (especially these days) and that remembering these wars just keeps perpetuating the aspect of wars.

My thoughts are that these people have died in service to their country, they’ve fought to keep our country safe. They’ve left loved ones behind and died in foreign lands in order that I may live in a country that is relatively free.

But, I have to agree with her on the pointless act of war.

Crimean War 1853-1856  : number of dead 213,147 – 293,447. The immediate chain of events leading to France and Britain declaring war on Russia on 27 and 28 March 1854 came from the ambition of the French emperor Napoleon III to restore the grandeur of France….ego.

WW1 1914-1918 : 17 million dead 20 million wounded. The explosive that was World War One had been long in the stockpiling; the spark was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. Ferdinand’s death at the hands of the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist secret society, set in train a mindlessly mechanical series of events that culminated in the world’s first global war….ego

WW2 1939-1945 : over 60 million killed or 61 million on the Allied side and 11 million on the Axis side. The Treaty of Versailles may have set the scene, but WW2’s main progenitor was one man: Adolf Hitler. Most historians of the causes of World War 2 agree that its seeds were sown at the end of World War 1…ego.

Since the apparent end of WW2 we have had:

1945 and ongoing : Korean conflict
1945-1946 War in Vietnam
1945-1946 Iran crisis
1946-1945 Indochina wars
1946-1949 Greek civil war
another 12 wars/conflicts around the world and then
1948-1949 Arab – Israeli war
another 12 wars/conflicts around the world and then
1950-1953 Korean war
9 wars/conflicts around the world and then
1955-1975 Vietnam war
26 wars/conflicts around the world and then
1961-1975 Angolan War of Independence
14 wars/conflicts around the world and then
1964-1975 Rhodesian Bush War
1964-1992 FULRO insurgency against Vietnam
1964-2016 Colombian conflict
1964-1974 Mozambican War of Independence
10 wars/conflicts around the word and then
1966-1989 South African Border War
9 wars/conflicts around the world and then
1968-1998 The Troubles
17 wars/conflicts around the world and the
1973 Yom Kippur War
35 wars/conflicts around the world and then
1979-1989 Soviet war in Afghanistan
3 wars and conflicts around the world
1980-1988 Iran – Iraq war
6 wars/conflicts around the world and
1982 Falklands war
27 wars/conflicts around the world
And all of these are just between 1945 – 1989 some are still ongoing.
1990-2002 : 65 wars and conflicts, some ongoing
2003-2010 : 39 wars, conflicts and insurgencies

My source for these wars was wikipedia. But if you really want to see the reality of our world at war since 1900, why not scare the shit out yourselves and have a look at this:

All wars in the 20th century I haven’t counted then all, it’s too depressing. According to the site I’ve hyperlinked it is impossible to be sure but at best guess:

Total deaths: 79,284,507 I’d say that’s probably an under-estimated figure.

Number of wars per country is an eye-opener, but what’s really sad is UK 30 & US 24. The only country with a figure higher than that is China with 34. It’s worth having a look…please also do read his comments on the criteria for the figures compiled.

Today, as for centuries past, our main wars are fought because of ego, religion and money…..oil and wealth; vested interests. Countries still go to war to claim land, to kill those they do not agree with and to protect their vested interests. Ego and money is what drives the world.

 

People have been marching for peace for decades and yet we are no nearer to not having wars than we were nearly 100 years ago. There have been countless wars around the world since the end of the First World War nearly 100 years ago: the war to end all wars.

remembrance sunday, armistice day

Harry Patch – veteran of World War 1

Well it didn’t end all wars, we are and have been fighting wars constantly and continuously ever since. We may not be publicly involved in all of these wars, but you can be absolutely sure that we have ‘boots on the ground’ in one way or another; vested interests. So 100 years on, is there any point?

Why do we have Remembrance Sunday when the UK is classified as the 2nd largest arms dealer in the world? http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britain-is-now-the-second-biggest-arms-dealer-in-the-world-a7225351.html  with most of the weapons now fuelling deadly conflicts in the Middle East, conflicts that come back to bite us where it hurts.

It seems a moot point really.

There are fewer peace marches or walks, or anti-war protests than there have been wars.

Are we really marching for peace? or do we march for war. Let’s face it, people make money from wars. There will never be peace on earth. There hasn’t been since time immemorial and there will continue to be wars until the planet implodes or explodes.

Why do we remember?

 

 

 

 

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One of the things I love about this country that I adopted as my home, is their tradition of Remembrance. 11 November is woven into the very fabric of the country, her citizens and her traditions.

It was my honour and privilege in 2014 to help plant some of the hundreds of thousands of poppies in the moat at the Tower of London…each poppy planted a representation of the lives that were lost during that fateful war. The war towards which young men marched off so bravely to defend their home and country….to fight for the freedoms we enjoy today.

remembrance day tower poppies

Armistice Day – Tower Poppies on 11/11/2014 – We will Remember Them

I was honoured to have the opportunity to attend the event at the Tower of London on 11.11.2014 when the final poppy was planted and the final Roll of Honour was read.

remembrance day tower poppies

We Will Remember Them 11.11.2014 – the very emotional event at the Tower of London

It is fitting and quite right that they should be remembered. I have in the past joined the thousands of people who congregate at the Cenotaph on Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday (the 2nd Sunday of November), a experience to touching and so emotional it’s hard to describe. A time when we remember not only the fallen and those who have since passed on, but also to celebrate those who have fought in more current wars around the globe, who are now fighting a different kind of war….the cheers are deafening.

remembrance sunday

Remembrance Sunday 09.11.2014

As a South African citizen far south of the equator we were vaguely aware of these events, but the clouds of war didn’t hang so heavy over our heads as they did the people who had participated and now lived in SA. I don’t recall ever, especially after we became a Republic, seeing or attending any events related to the two World Wars. My Grandfather used to take my sister and I to the Imperial War Museum in Johannesburg where we clambered over the tanks, planes…my favourite the Spitfire, and various other WW1&2 relics. When I was about 17 he gave me some of his medals (sadly they were since stolen by the natural citizens of SA) and that really was about as much as it touched my life…until I came to the UK.

I know there is some argument for leaving the past in the past, but if we don’t remember the events of the past how can we make sure they don’t happen again in the future.

armistice day remembrance sunday in flanders fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow…. John McRae May 1915

During the early days of the Second Battle of Ypres a young Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2nd May, 1915 in the gun positions near Ypres. An exploding German artillery shell landed near him. He was serving in the same Canadian artillery unit as a friend of his, the Canadian military doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae.
As the brigade doctor, John McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service for Alexis because the chaplain had been called away somewhere else on duty that evening. It is believed that later that evening, after the burial, John began the draft for his now famous poem “In Flanders Fields”.

So, yes I buy my poppy each year, I attend the events at Whitehall when I can and I too Remember them….they deserve to be remembered.

They fought for my freedom.

They fought for our freedom.

At the going down of the sun, we shall remember them

armistice day remembrance sunday we will remember them

11.11.2014 at the going down of the sun…..

Update: 11/11 – I just came across this article and thought it worthy of sharing in remembrance of the lady behind the story of the poppy…it’s so poignant!!

Moina Michael: “The Poppy Lady”

http://www.greatwar.co.uk/article/remembrance-poppy.htm

 

 

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11:00  11/11 – marks – Armistice Day for WW1 aka Remembrance Day.

But what is Remembrance Day?

Researching my favourite website Wikipedia, this is what I found:

Armistice Day (also known as Remembrance Day) is on November 11 and commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Rethondes, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning — the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”. While this official date to mark the end of the war reflects the cease fire on the Western Front, hostilities continued in other regions, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire.

The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, to commemorate those members of the armed forces who were killed during war. An exception is Italy, where the end of the war is commemorated on 4 November, the day of the Armistice of Villa Giusti. Called Armistice Day in many countries, it was known as National Day in Poland (also a public holiday) called Polish Independence Day. After World War II, the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day in the United States and to Remembrance Day in countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Armistice Day remains an official holiday in France. It is also an official holiday in Belgium, known also as the Day of Peace in the Flanders Fields.

Personally I love that we have set aside one day in a year to take the time out to remember those who have fought and died for our liberty.   Of course there are always two sides to every story and what we celebrate may not be someone else’s reason to celebrate.   However, it is wise to remember that wars have been fought for millenia and that so long as mankind roams the earth there will always be wars.   The ultimate ideal would be to have ‘Peace on Earth’, and yet by nature we are a waring tribe, so what is the chance.

The most common causes of war and fighting are Religion and Politics, followed closely by acquisition of natural resources, food and land.   So long as we are all independent of thought and hold an opinion, there will be wars!

However, should we humans one day master the divine skill of acceptance, perhaps then we may find peace.

one of my favourite quotes from a famous gentleman:

“You become what you think about”. Earl Nightingale

let’s raise the flag for future generations and think about becoming ‘peaceful’

One of my favourite videos and the story of  a man to be admired as he struggles to promote peaceoneday

“We must make every effort for the promotion of peace and inner values. I fully support [Peace One Day].” His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Laureate

Imagine if we all did the same thing!

What will you do?

 

 

 

 

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