‘Our Glorious Dead’. These are the words carved in stone at the foot of this war memorial.
I stand here in the cold morning air and think about my grandfather and father who endured battle during both the First and Second World Wars. Both of them returned home with scars and a deep, shame-filled belief that there are no glorious dead, no heroes and, that the value of sacrifice is worthy of question. These beliefs kept them silent throughout most of their lives.
As we remember our glorious war dead and their selfless sacrifice on our collective behalf we unwittingly glorify war itself. We can deny this, but it remains so. As a civilization, our history is a violent and warring one; not by some natural reason but by our inability to deeply question and debate this history.
And so we find ourselves at this place and time of remembrance and the opportunity I believe we should take is to say loudly; ‘War is the reflection of the collective failure of civilized people’. We need to remember how wrong war is, not how glorious our war dead are.