Lest we disrespect

You’ll need to have had no form of communication with the outside world for the last six months not to know that his weekend is Remembrance Weekend and is the centenary of the end of The Great War aka WWI.

On the dot of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent.

The history and all that goes with Remembrance day is well documented, now more than ever it was before. The phrase #lestweforget, in the days of modern media and communication seems very unlikely to happen again and the stories I’ve read of late, like that by my good pal Steve (https://totalashford.com/i-came-to-talk-to-my-great-grandfather-one-mans-very-personal-tribute/) seem to prove that now, with all the technology available, that it is easy enough to trace ones relative who gave their life so that we might remain unconquered.

The phrase that springs to mind more these days over and above #lestweforget is #lestwedisrespect. Harsh and fairly aggressive in tone, but so are the lives of many of our veterans from recent conflicts who suffer from PTSD, limb loss, financial hardship and family breakdown because they, every man and woman of our armed forces, followed their hearts and served for our country.

What little can we do. Say thanks, when you buy your poppy or badge, talk to the veterans, find out their story and say thank you. Go to the Mems on Sunday morning, go to the Beacon Lighting on Sunday evening, stand alongside those who also respect and thank those who fought for us.

Tis but a small twee thing, but Saturday, in the Taproom in Bank Street, there’s an event called Rock For Remembrance happening. It’s a music fundraiser, for the Royal British Legion in Ashford and its an all dayer. There’ll be veterans and non vets alike, all enjoying good beer and good music and all for the common cause. Come down and chuck your loose change and notes into the charity buckets, there’s some good raffle prizes available to win as well. But its really not about that, its about giving what you can to say thank you.

And if you can’t come down, then do me a favour. Find your oldest living relative that’s close to you, and take them out for a coffee and a chat and talk to them, perhaps even read them this poem, they’ll probably appreciate that more.

Today is not a day for bluster or for blather
We always must acknowledge those who still do gather
To mourn their colleagues old and new
No matter how many or how few
For all were somebody’s son, daughter, mother or father.

Today is not a day for festivity or for gain
Except to celebrate the lives of those who fought in vain
We owe them and we thank them dear
We will not forget, let you disappear
From thought, we will not let your memory wain

Today is not a day to argue or to chide
We must always show our gratitude to the many servicemen who died
And as eleven o clock comes round
And Britain doesn’t make a sound
We remember those who gave their lives with pride

Phill Thorne


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