THE Poppy — is there more a evocative symbol?
Millions are sold every year and worn with pride.
But with this pride, there should, perhaps, also be a shadow of shame that so many young and promising lives are lost — and are still being lost, fighting battles, that will often be settled by the countries’ leaders talking round a peace conference table.
Surely, in this sophisticated, educated, age of instant, one-to-one global communication, a way could, and should, be found for disputes between countries to be solved in a more humane way, other than young men of one country killing the young men of another.
My father fought and was wounded three times in the First World War and I must say he never complained.
We once went to the areas where he had fought and he showed me the little bridge under where he had lain wounded for three whole days.
He fought for four years and was only 19½ when he was discharged having, like so many, joined up under age, taking the ‘shilling’ and not thinking of the danger, but only of the challenge and excitement.
He tried so hard, but failed, in dissuading my brother Tom from joining the Royal Marine Commandoes when he was 17.
Tom and I also visited the war graves In France and saw the vast expanse of fields covered with crosses, making us think ‘what a terrible, tragic waste’ and of the untold heart break to all their families.
It made us ask ‘why is the lesson never learnt that war is not the way’?
But, at the moment, it looks like we may actually be at that place, with Germany and France endeavouring to solve the supremacy and domination of Europe by monetary means — so we can only hope that the outcome is agreeable to all sides.
The trouble is, and I fear always will be, that the human race is extremely tribal. We don’t want to be ‘just a part of’, we want to be ‘us’ and that still remains the big barrier to world cohesion.