Tuesday, 5 August 2014

We will remember them

"The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."
Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary, 1914

Last night, along with thousands of other households across the UK, we switched off all our lights and lit a single candle to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of World War One. A televised remembrance service from Westminster Abbey saw actors, soldiers and members of the church movingly read poems and letters about and from that terrible time 100 years ago. There has been much debate recently about the justification of the so-called Great War. Was it a complete disaster that slaughtered a generation for no good reason ( the "Blackadder" argument ) or was it a necessary evil that ensured European democracy? Whichever side of the debate you favour it's important that the unprecedented and unimaginable sacrifice of ordinary men and women, whether military or civilians, should never be forgotten.
We will remember them...


Mark Barnes said...

Perhaps it was a complete disaster that slaughtered a generation and ensured European democracy?
A war that needed to be fought maybe, but could have have been fought with a much smaller loss of life?

cerebus660 said...

That's the issue, isn't it? Was it all ever worth the incalculable loss and trauma? It seems easier to make the case for the Second World War, where it was a simple defense of freedom against a monstrous foe. The Great War, at this remove, seems almost inexplicable now...


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