Another Remembrance Day is almost upon us.
My wee daughter several years ago as we pay our respects.
For the sixth year in a row I’ll be spending it in the USA where I now live. The Americans remember in their own individual way just like we do back home in the UK. Some with direct military backgrounds, or indirect through family members will mostly take part in some form of memorial on the day. Many though will take the day to go to sales in town or just have a family day away from any military types.
Well, at the end of the day, that’s what the brave men and women of both world wars fought for. Freedom and liberty, along with choice. The choice to do what one wants on each day of the year…and I respect that, because even in today’s world way too many still don’t have freedom, liberty or choice.
However, as I get older I begin to think deeper. I also spend more and more time thinking about my overall position on all the wars’ dead.
It’s pretty simple for me though, I remember the dead from both world wars, I think of the dead from today’s modern conflicts, and I think of all in between where I’ve mostly taken part. And saw, heard, tasted, smelt and touched conflict at it’s very worst. But the nearest and dearest to me without doubt, are my mates that died on operations as young men in their prime.
I’ve written in the past about when I’m home in the UK, I’ll go to the SAS plot in the grave yard of St Martin’s church on the Ross Road, in Hereford, England…every Remembrance Day, and every New Years’ Day morning. I’ll speak to every one of them (as I know most that lie there). I’ll put them up to date on what’s going on. And most of all, I’ll feel their energy, I’ll feel their presence, and it makes me belong, it makes me feel like one of them…again. Young men in their prime, many with family, some single and alone. But all, to a man…at the very top of their game.
I spent 23 years in the military. However, I’m not fit to stand in the shadow of these great warriors who sleep soundly in their plot.
Why? Because I never gave all for any operation that I took part in…ever. I always managed to find my way home with the rest of us.
On this 11 of the 11 of the 11…once again, I’ll be thinking of all wars’dead, but in particular I’ll be stood alone, with my chest pushed out, thinking of my young mates, as I’ve had the chance, the generous chance…to grow old.