Approximately 10 million soldiers died in the First World War. As a kid, and again as a young man, and again as an older man I have visited the site of The Battle of Vimy Ridge. Since my first visit I felt the desolation and despair of the place. It’s important to remember the high price of war, or ‘organised murder’, if you prefer the description given by the late Harry Patch. 10 million lives.
Approximately 7 million civilians died in the First World War. They did not sign up to fight, nor were they conscripted. Rather they were unceremoniously blown to bits, shot, burned, starved, diseased and destroyed. 7 million lives.
I choose to remember and I choose not to wear a remembrance poppy. I increasingly find myself in a minority. Even though we seem particularly bad at learning from it, I still think remembrance is vital. And I don’t wish to offend, but I choose to unite my remembrance of all the war dead from all conflicts, military and civilian alike. Whatever you think about the poppy as a symbol, it does not currently stand for that united remembrance.