Remembrance Sunday should not be hijacked
HAVING read Father Daly’s speech in the Hinckley Times, I could not believe the insensitivity, political misappropriation and ignorance of the facts it contained.
It appears to be totally naive (as a great number of the population sadly are nowadays) as to what actually happened in WW1, as opposed to that portrayed in films like “Oh What a Lovely War” etc.
It is right in saying that Christianity should be used to examine and criticise the way we live.
But there is a time and place, and just because his church is not as crowded as it used to be, does not mean to say Father Daly should misappropriate a centennial national commemoration ceremony to put across his biases and political agenda.
His term “brandy swilling cigar smoking generals” particularly, was used purely to demean a section of the military, based on his prejudices.
It is well known, that 11.5% of British soldiers who took part in WW1 died, but it is not so well known that 17% of all officers who took part were also killed, along with 19% of generals (over 200). Additionally, of those “Old Etonians” who fought, 20% were killed (almost 1,000 from one school). So contrary to popular belief, the so called upper classes lost far more than the so called lower classes.
The war was not futile. We had a treaty with Belgium and France and they were invaded. Not by the rich, or arms manufacturers etc, but by the German Army.
Additionally, Germany did offer peace terms in 1916, but that would have left nearly all of Belgium and a large part of France under German occupation.
It has been said the Poppy has been “weaponised this year”. Could that have been something to do with the fact it was the 100th anniversary of the end of the war?
Finally, as someone who served in his countries armed forces for forty years, On Remembrance Sunday, I remember five of my comrades who are no longer with us. One who died in the Falklands, two who were murdered by the IRA and two who gave there lives searching for bombs in Afghanistan. Contrary to what some seem to feel about conflicts, their loss was not futile, Remembrance Sunday is the one day of the year when I expect to be able to think about only them and the families they left behind. I don’t expect it to be hijacked to make political/personal points. Chas Greig