10 November 2006

Poppies, the Chattering Classes and Memory

I'm not so sure that the posturing of the chattering classes over the Poppy or one of their high priests: Jon Snow, really counts as news

But the Poppy does serve many useful purposes (apart from fund raising of some £24 million, a proportion which goes to aid ex-service people and providing work, social interaction for many disabled or chronically ill in the Poppy factory), it reminds us that if people had not opposed the Kaiser or Hitler, then Britain and the rest of Europe would be vassal states of a militaristic Germany.

It should remind us that millions and millions died to oppose military aggression and the fight against fascism, it should remind us that we enjoy a comparatively comfortable existence thanks to their willingness to give their lives. It should remind us that history didn't start two weeks ago, two years ago or 20 years ago. The Poppy should remind us that there is history to everything and how we benefit from the struggles of others in the past.

So what does it cost, today's whining-posturing-post-modernist generation, to buy a poppy and wear it??

No, it costs very little,

It costs us just the time and ability to remember how things that we take for granted are often built on the lives or backs of others.

It costs us a few moments to recall those graveyards, which litter Europe, full of young idealistic men and women prepared to fight against military aggression.

It costs us a degree of humility and a moment without self-indulgence, that's all it costs.

But it costs us our bits of humanity, if we should forget.

1 comment:

Paul Saxton said...

An excellent post - spot on.