We owe those who marched to war not to forget
THIS Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, a truly horrific four years which blighted the lives of a generation.
Walking around in recent days, it’s been moving to see lamp-post poppies everywhere.
We are a valley which, having lived elsewhere, always does a wonderful job of remembering those who gave their lives in both world wars – and other conflicts beside.
It’s quite remarkable to walk along streets in Haslingden, Bacup, Rawtenstall and elsewhere, and imagine what they were like in 1918.
In many cases, it’s not hard: the buildings are the same and it only takes a little imagination to remove cars and other signs of modern life from view in your mind.
But I can never comprehend the idea that at the request of the country, men gathered together and marched to war, a war which many never returned from.
It seems such an alien concept in the 21st century, when wars are fought from the air and via computerised military bases thousands of miles away.
Yet they did, and it’s a part of history which should never be forgotten.
The centenary of the end of the war gives cause for a lot more focus on this Sunday than in other years, but we need to make sure it continues in the years to come.
We also need to learn the lessons of the two world wars.
Hatred gets society nowhere, and it sometimes feels that the public discourse of this country has lost sight of that in recent times.
We owe it to those who marched to war, uncertain of what awaited them, not knowing if they’d come home, that we don’t forget about their sacrifice.