I was busy on Sunday oganising a lunch for my mother’s 80th birthday party. It wasn’t until some relatives, who had come from the other side of Glasgow, remarked that they’d seen the remembrance parade in George Square when changing trains that I “remembered” it was remembrance Sunday.
I reflected that I had the luxury of forgetting such a thing.
When I was growing up there were plenty of veterans of the Great War to tell the horrific tales of what was suffered by the soldiers who fought in it. Death and injury of countless men to gain a twenty yard advantage over the enemy, shell shock, shooting men with trauma and stress.
My own grandfather, having lied about his age, fought in the trenches at 16 years of age.
The last British soldier from the first world war died earlier this year.
A friend emailed at the weekend and asked if I’d be blogging about Remembrance Sunday and suggested one of the songs listed below but I didn’t get the email until Monday.
If you have a few moments, listen to these two songs written and performed by Scots/Australian songwriter Eric Bogle. As with the contemporary poetry of the likes of Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen, Bogle’s songs can sometimes be just too miserable to bear.
They are certainly not the kind of thing one would listen to for inspiration on a sunny day.
However the words of these songs contain more incisive thought about war and humanity than anyone could otherwise cram into thirteen minutes.
I can’t begin to imagine the worry, tragedy, pain and grief being experienced currently by soldiers and their families in Iraq and Afghanistan but perhaps it will be much the same as that suffered in any war.
Like the war to end all wars.
The armistice treaty for which came into effect at 11am (Paris time) 91 years ago today.