Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.

Reflection

Yesterday, at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month - Britain stood still for two silent minutes of reflection. This tradition sprang up after the war of all wars, The Great War (WW1). So many young men who were sons, husbands and fathers were thrown into battle to fight over a few square yards of mud. What these vibrant young men endured is legendary. They dug deep trenches in deep solid clay to try and maintain protection against the bullets that whistled past them. It has always been claimed that 'you never hear the one that hits you.'

My grandfather served in the First World War. He was a young man that had recently married and his wife, my grandmother was carrying their first child when she kissed and waved goodbye to him. He came back wounded with shrapnel with horrors playing over and over in his head. Although I came into his life a long time afterwards ... he was not one for discussing the events of this devastating tragedy.

Like many children, I was persistent in my queries as to what it was like and eventually he relented and told me little pieces of information of what it was like.

When it rained, the trenches filled up with water that seeped through the leather boots and sometimes lapped over the tops filling any gaps between sock and leather. So sodden did boot and foot become that the flesh became wrinkled and began to rot. Even if they could take off the boots there was no means of drying them so day after day after day they endured icy cold water permeating their flesh. There were gas attacks which included the dreaded mustard gas - truly a viscous weapon as it burnt eyes, skin and lungs and caused bleeding inside and out those that died from it slowly and painfully suffered until they closed their eyes for the last time. There were rifles with bayonets and machine guns and miles and miles of barbed wire that ripped through uniforms and gouged into skin.

When the conflict was over, the land being a sea of mud and bodies not a blade of grass remained but eventually the ground became a red glow as million after million poppies pushed their way up from the slaughter ground and opened their red petals in the day light. We now recognise the poppy as a symbol of the fallen ...

When you next see a poppy take a moment and reflect ... not just for the fallen in the First World War. Remember also those who have had their lives taken or have received serious injury and who have taken up arms in our name to protect us all and keep our freedom and make this planet a safe place so that we may go about our daily lives. Let us hope that somewhere in the not too distant future we will eventually see the end of all conflict and may be we can then share a wonderful life of peace!

3 comments:

Sandi said...

wow...that's very intense. You write it well. I felt like I was there. I couldn't stand having my feet be cold and wet like that every day.

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

oh my goodness that brought terrible visions and tears to my eyes. Those are truly heroes and how hard to survive such painful memories!

Polly said...

All wars are truly dreadful and sometimes, even though we have televisions and nowadays see more of the conflict around the world - unless it touches a family member or friend - all we can do is imagine the injuries and pain of those involved. Somehow, for the sake of our children and our children's children we need to put brake on war and conflict.
Since man has taken his first steps on this beautiful planet he has embraced violence, war, bullying, stepping on the weak and the miserable. He has been driven with greed with a dreadful 'I'm all right Jack' attitude not caring a fig for the plight of the vulnerable. This is the future that we are handing on to our children - we are in charge of life now, keepers of the planet and yet we are no better than any we can name from our past. We can't be can we? We still carry on dishing out pain and suffering with a total indifference. If we all really cared for our fellow man we would all do more to change things - it's just easier not to and because of this - this is the future that we are passing on to our children!