As Remembrance Days go, 2020 is a bit strange. The purpose of the day, however, hasn’t changed. In fact, this year, as we struggle with the restrictions and uncertainties placed on us by the global war against Covid-19, it’s even more relevant to reflect on the fears and uncertainties thrust on people by two world wars, and the sacrifices people were asked to make.
That life ceased to be normal during the two wars goes without saying, but we tend to forget, perhaps, that like us, they suffered the difficulty of being separated from loved ones and the anxiety of not knowing whether or not they would see them again, or whether a bomb might drop from the sky and lay waste to their lives.
We forget that the economy went into depression, that there was rationing, shortages, and mass unemployment. We forget that men coming home from the front in 1918, not only brought with them stories, shell shock, and war wounds, they brought a devastating influenza pandemic that killed almost a quarter of a million people in the UK. Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents faced this, and not all of them survived.
228,000 people died in Britain during the 1918-19 flu pandemic, and that came after some 900,000 deaths in WW1 and 450,000 deaths in WW2 with millions more wounded. That’s a lot of incapacitated men, as well as thousands of widows, widowers, and orphans.
Sometimes, it helps to look back and remember the disasters and sacrifices of the past to put the disasters of the present into perspective. We are asked to social distance, not to have parties, to wash our hands, to self-isolate for a fortnight if we’ve had contact with someone who’s infected, to consider other people’s health and well-being rather than our own selfish desires. Is it really too much to ask that people take social responsibility at this time and do the right thing?
Do we want another quarter of a million deaths?
Read about the horror that was Auschwitz during WW2 http://mybook.to/TouchingtheWire IAN Book of the Year 2019
Read about one man’s war in Egypt and the girl he left at home during the Great War http://mybook.to/DandelionClock Readers Choice Silver Medal
If you would like to donate to the Royal British Legion 2020 poppy appeal you can at https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/ways-to-give/donate
Thank you for reading. Stay safe.