Wednesday, October 31, 2007

As Remembrance Day approaches the cloth and plastic poppies spring up all over our television screens. No newsreader, no presenter, no guest is allowed to appear before us without this symbol of the blood of lions led by donkeys. I'm betting there's a big box of poppies outside the studio doors from which these people help themselves. I'm also betting these are provided gratis by the Haig Fund; paying for poppies is for the plebs. In fact paying for anything is for the plebs.
I won't be present at the cenotaph at 11 o'clock on the 11th this year because the 11th falls on a Sunday. That's when the representatives of state and church and monarchy show their shiny faces. That's when the military march around with firearms. Sunday is the day of the donkey.
When the 11th of November falls on any other day a much more subdued ceremony takes place, attended by old servicemen and women and their families and friends, and a few others who 'will remember them'. No pomp, little ceremony, but genuine remembrance and heartfelt gratitude for the sacrifice of those 'who laid down their lives for their friends' and for others they could not know, others unborn.
"We don't remember once a year", the Provost Sergeant informed us sprogs, "We remember our dead every evening when the flag is lowered and the bugler blows 'Retreat'.

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