There is little I can say on the day which commemorates 100 years since Armistice Day, that hasn’t been stated more eloquently or comprehensively by others.
Television, newspapers and online media have given us moving and worthy tributes to those who died in World War 1 and other wars since, over the past few weeks, culminating in today’s remembrance services, parades and commemorations across this country, and further afield.
World War One was one of the deadliest conflicts in the history of the human race, in which over 16 million people died. The total number of both civilian and military casualties is estimated at around 37 million people – almost 7 million civilians and 10 million military personnel. Staggering figures that are difficult to comprehend.
Armistice Day began first thing this morning in Maltby with the sound of a lone piper playing When The Battle’s O’er, a traditional tune played after battle, with 2,000 pipers playing in unison across the UK and other parts of the world.
The display’s of poppies around the town and exhibitions of memorabilia at St Barts, Wesley Centre and Maltby Academy have taught us much about our history and people of all ages have felt the significance and closeness of the awful loss to Maltby and surrounding villages.
There will be a march to the war memorial on Blyth Road where wreaths will be laid and silence observed in remembrance of those who lost their lives too soon. At least one horse and many dogs who will march as well, in remembrance of the thousands of animals who also played such an important role in the war. Later, a beacon will be lit along with many others across the country.
Of course, it is naive to imagine that because of our knowledge and understanding of wars past, that we could from this day, look forward to a future of peace and harmony in this country and around the world. But without that hope and commitment to this possibility, there is little chance of that happening.
Perhaps we can go forward with the conviction of persuading those who “lead” us to work for the betterment of society by example, and less for the “glory” of power and fame. With this aim we have some chance of achieving a future that we can be proud of, and so honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice.