Where were you in 1914? The chances are that you weren’t there at all. The beginning of the Great War, which by 1918 had killed more than 15 million people, (the equivalent of nearly a quarter of the current UK population). This war was one of the most deadly conflicts in history involving 70 million military personnel. During The Great War we saw the use of trench warfare where soldiers spent not days but months and months is dirty, sewage ridden conditions with very little food and water fighting for the welfare of others, they were willing to die for what they believed in and gave everything they had, and for many that meant their lives, the thing they must have seen!
I am only 25 and don’t really know of anyone in my family who died in the First World War yet I’m sure there are many. It is easy to forget and take for granted what these wonderful people did for our country as it was so long ago.
When we donate to the Poppy Appeal and replace our £1 coin with a pretty red flower and a pin do most of us actually know why? The poppy's significance to Remembrance Day is a result of Canadian military physician John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their red colour an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare.
Although Remembrance Day came about to commemorate those who died in the Great War, today we use it to also remember our parents or grandparents in the Second World War or our close relatives in the current conflicts around the globe.
My youngest brother will be out there soon, he is currently training and thriving off the discipline, I don’t think he knew 5am existed before!
We are a Great nation with a wonderful array of cultures, our culture stands for one where we can all stand side by side whether you are black or white, Christian or Muslim, and that is why these incredible people fight for us and carry on fighting.
So amongst all of the upcoming party antics of Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas let’s not forget those who gave us a reason to remember and a reason to carry on. Let’s think about those who are out there now risking their lives, the families who have recently lost a child to the war and the soldiers who have come home physically less-able and scarred for life.
Buy a poppy, wear it with pride and on the 11th hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month remember those who fought relentlessly in the 1st and 2nd World Wars and those who are fighting now.
There are 525600 minutes in a year, our soldiers only ask for 1.
Steven Foster – The Fingerpost in Pelsall