Their sac­ri­fice must never be for­got­ten

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - COMMENT -

As is tra­di­tional, and fit­ting, the peo­ple of Bri­tain will fall silent at 11am to­mor­row morn­ing. The yearly time for re­flec­tion has taken on greater sig­nif­i­cance on this, the 100th an­niver­sary of the Ar­mistice.

As demon­strated by the wealth of ex­hi­bi­tions and re­search pro­jects and seas of pop­pies spilling from churches and pub­lic build­ings, com­mu­ni­ties will not for­get the sac­ri­fices made in at­tempts to bring peace to war-torn lands.

The First World War was dubbed – in­cor­rectly, as it turned out – the war to end all wars.

It was fol­lowed quickly by the Sec­ond World War and count­less con­flicts through the decades, right up to mod­ern day atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

Sadly, bat­tles con­tinue to rage across the world and we live in in­creas­ingly dan­ger­ous times.

Ide­olo­gies thought to be on the wane are ris­ing again, cli­mate change threat­ens mas­sive so­cio-eco­nomic in­sta­bil­ity and the con­cept of na­tion­hood takes on ev­er­greater sig­nif­i­cance.

That is why it is wrong to sug­gest this centenary com­mem­o­ra­tion should be the last.

The scale of events may never again match what has taken place over the last 12 months but there is no doubt­ing the value of the an­nual remembrance.

How­ever well mean­ing, to sug­gest it is time to for­get the past and con­cen­trate only on the fu­ture is mis­guided.

Fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, or those who have not lived through a world war or its af­ter­math, must be taught about how their free­doms were won so that they can also learn how quickly they could be lost.

The sto­ries told in the pages of The Courier, and so many places else­where, about sol­diers, sailors and civil­ian ca­su­al­ties are not glo­ry­ing in a war which saw need­less slaugh­ter on an in­dus­trial scale.

They serve to re­mind us what was given up on those bru­tal for­eign fields, and why.

It is for that rea­son we re­mem­ber them and will con­tinue to do so.

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