Today was armistice day and after our recent visits to the Somme I thought about it a bit more deeply. At my French class tonight the teacher told us that in France it is a public holiday (but then there are many public holidays in France!). However, more French soldiers were killed than any other nationality and as a percentage of the total population it was a literally a generation killed. When I was younger and more idealistic I used to disapprove of these commemorations as the glorification of militarism and used to think that wearing a red poppy somehow condoned that. I preferred the idea of the white poppy to symbolise peace. Now I think that it doesn't really matter what bl**dy colour the poppy is as what we are doing is acknowledging the immense loss and tragedy of war. Perhaps continuing to remember armistice day will ensure that younger people who have never experienced such events get some appreciation of what man can do.
Post script: Ever since writing this post I have been looking everywhere for some pictures that I took a couple of years ago. On our way back from France Ian and I stopped off to visit the war graves of the Somme..well just a couple; the whole tour would take the best part of a week. I eventually found them last night.