Wednesday 11 November 2020

Remembrance Day


On the eleventh day of the eleventh month we remember: today is Remembrance Day.

We especially remember today the sacrifice of soldier-conscripts, police-officers, fire-fighters, ambulance-workers, stretcher-bearers, medics, civil defence volunteers and all others swept up in the evils of war.

We recall the sacrifice too of the animals used in warfare: horses; mules; donkeys; dogs; pigeons; and mascots.

I personally reflect upon the effort of members of my family who were directly involved in the war-front (Great Uncle Ted - a life-long professional soldier in India who died at Ypres; Grandad Cyril - Far East; Grandad Doug - Arnhem) and those who were obliged to stay home to work for the war-effort in essential jobs (Grandad Horace).

We also recall the huge effort made by wimminfolk to take up the jobs left by their menfolk, and especially those who worked & died in the armaments industry.

We recall the civilians killed in war-time: those who had different opinions, such as Communists, Socialists; those who had a different religion, such as Jews, Jehovahs Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists; we recall those who had different life-styles, Homosexuals & other Queers like myself, Romanies; and those just killed because they were in the wrong place by guns or bombs. 

I remember all the tens of thousands of disabled people, just like me, who were killed under the NAZI’s Aktion T4 programme, the precursor to the Holocaust. And additionally all those disabled folk euthanised by countries like USA and India even when not in a state of war, but in wars against their own citizens.

We remember the indigenous peoples killed to make way for colonists or to gain access to assets. We remember those killed by colonial powers so that they could retain hold on colonies, such as Belgian Congo or British Raj in India.

We remember all those places where war still rages, such as Syria, Yemen.

We recall the deaths of the poor due to actions of the rich, the exploitative economic war of extreme social injustice waged across much of the World.

As a Quaker and Pacifist, I also remember the sacrifice of the conscientious-objectors, who remind us all that Peace can always be an alternative. Many were forced to work in dangerous mines and died as a result.

We are thankful for all those who have helped to bring Peace, no matter their rôle, and brought wars to an end.

We shall remember them. 🙏🏻💕🌺

[Image description: my Great Uncle Ted in his Indian uniform and in his WWI attire.]

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