We owe those who marched to war not to for­get

Rossendale Free Press - - Your Views -

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.

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