Sunday, 13 November 2011

Let's not forget

Today we tried to get over to Imber, the nearby village that was requisitioned by the military at the end of World War II> The MOD had said it would be open, but when we got there the barriers were down and the red flags up. Like the folk behind us, we had to go somewhere else to observe the two minutes silence.

I've detailed the history of Imber before, and it seemed a good place to remember the losses of war; not just the lives, but the ways of life. This is a pretty apolitical blog, although I've sympathy with those who feel the UK should have accepted its military might needed scaling back after the humiliation of Suez. But I'm also a big believer in the parable of the Good Samaritan, and think that if we can help the less fortunate people of the world, then we should - even if they don't have oil or supply our drug dealers. The poppy is not about jingoism or the glory of war. It's to remind us how terrible war is, and what people can achieve (with support) in its wake. The Italian and Japanese people especially worked hard to achieve great things after WWII, and it's interesting how their economies have stagnated as generations who never knew the horror of war took over the reigns of power. We don't need wars, but we do need to remember what they can do to the lives of ordinary people. When Brits complain about cutbacks in the same breath as boasting about their iPhone, I wonder if they've ever seen somewhere like downtown Bagdad, or spoken to people who knew Afghanistan in the 1970s. Today I enjoyed walking in the sunshine across the expanse of Salisbury Plain with loved ones, remembering what I take for granted is rare across much of the world and most of history. And I'll try never to forget what people gave up to allow me to enjoy so much in life. Including the bikes.

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