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November 11 2018

November 13, 2018

November 11 2018

Remembrance day, only -3, but the wind is gusting at 50 kilometres an hour we did not go down to the war memorial, but many did as always. Once upon a time Guide District Commissioner Sheila used to take a group of guides and Brownies down to march in the Parade, very chilly for them all. At Malvern the whole school was paraded at the foot of the steps in front of the war memorial, all wearing the poppies which we had compulsorily purchased, for the two minutes of silence. Just inside the main door of the chapel there was a memorial to those who had died in World War I The number who died was comparable to the total enrolment in any year. Public school leavers were almost automatically given commissions and as second lieutenants and lieutenants were the most vulnerable in the trench warfare. I am also reminded of being in Crewkerne for Remembrance Day when Simon was on the Council. We went to the service at the church where they read out all the names of those who had died in action since 1914. It was long list for a small town, and many of the surnames were repeated many times, giving an idea how some families must have suffered.

The activities of world leaders in Paris, and the various other commemmorations of the 100th anniversary, may have reminded people of the futility of war, but will it have any long term impact. To me the most striking impact, besides the church service, and the Malvern memorial has been my visits to Normandy when Simon and Sylvia had the house at Balleroy. I visited several of the war cemeteries in the area, both for the allies and for the Germans, the squandering of the lives of so many young men is horrifying, quite apart from the impact of these wars on the civilian populations. When Judy and Harry took Chris over to be christened in Crewkerne, we all went on to Normandy, where Judy, of English extraction, and Harry, of German extraction, took the infant Christopher to a Canadian war cemetery. A nice symbolic gesture I thought.

Despite all of this, while the “world leaders” were commemorating 100 years since world war I some of their forces were undoubtedly wreaking havoc in Yemen or Syria or somewhere in Africa or Latin America. Will we never learn?

In this context it seems trivial to report that this year the Canadian custom of starting to sell poppies from the first of November on has resulted in me buying 5, they do not go well with seat belts.

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