We will remember them

by David Shanahan

Perhaps the most important aspect of Remembrance Day each year is that we remember them. Them, not the various battles and wars and incidents, but them, the ones who went from here and the ones who did not return again. This puts the responsibility on each generation to remember, to ensure that their community can remember clearly and accurately what and who have gone before.

That is why, each year, the Times has published a special issue for Remembrance Day. By bringing to mind individuals, their stories, their pictures and their individuality, we can understand better what they did and why. For decades, Remembrance Day was centred on emotional things, like the often-used poem, “In Flanders Fields”, with its threat that “If ye break faith with us who die, We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields”. Perhaps their sleep will be most peaceful if we can remember them and decide never to repeat their experiences again.

Today, we remember the humanity of those who served, understanding, possibly better than ever before, the real cost to all who put their lives on the line. That is why they should be remembered: because they were just like us, came from our communities, knew our streets and country roads. Whether you agree, or disagree, with their going out to fight, we must remember them.