Today, as we commemorate D-Day, the biggest amphibious assault in military history, I am humble proud and sad (if not a little angry), all in one go.
I’m humbled by the debt of gratitude we owe to so many for the personal freedoms that we enjoy today. I am proud of being able to say that I am British and hopefully, posses some of the qualities displayed in our veterans before us. I’m sad that so many have very little understanding about our history but worse, many often have no desire to learn about that history.
Although the D-Day operation was seen (partly) as a success story of WWII, there were also some monumental mistakes made during that conflict. One that probably resulted in a daily death toll that exceeded total body counts in some more recent conflicts. Many would say that warfare of any kind is a very grave ‘mistake’ and increasingly, I would have to agree. However; historic events, good or bad, have an impact upon who we are today and have also shaped the society that we live in. “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it” (Edmund Burke).
Warfare is not something we generally embark upon as individuals. Neither is it something that many of us did/would ever vote for. But, throughout history almost without exemption, it has been politics (and religion) which have led us to war, often without the whole truth of the situation actually being explained to us. Even more worrying are the thoughts of those who believe; most wars have simply been fought for colonial and/or commercial reasons, especially the more recent ones. They may have been disguised in human rights and/or anti-terrorism etc however; the only ‘rights’ being fought for are those being exercised by the rich and powerful. A relatively small group of people in the world who constantly aim to increase their personal wealth and power of the rest of us…could they be correct?
I know I’m not alone with my concerns for the future. Ones which have been highlighted by recent military campaigns along with home and European politics. A friend posted the following on Facebook this morning.
As we rightfully commemorate D-Day and remember those who lost their lives I’m struggling to appreciate what it was all for? A Nazi takeover of Europe and this country was avoided at massive cost but when I look at today’s European world and the menacing growth of a European superstate and the loss of our independence as a country to Brussels the only difference I can see is that the jackboot and gun has been replaced by the sharp suit and the pen...
The act of Remembrance, at least for me and although very important, isn’t just about respect for the fallen on one particular day or another each year.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them
Although that is important, it’s also a catalyst for other thoughts. It’s about spending a little time every day stopping to think about life in general and how we each live our own life. Increasingly, sadly and a sign of our times, it’s also important to consider how we impact upon the life of others around us. We need to find ways to be a little less self-interested and a good deal more focused upon helping those less fortunate than ourselves.
We also all need to do what we can to ensure; the horrific events of our past never reveal themselves again in the future…Lest we Forget…