I was intending to start a piece with a few words on the Somme, but it is not just some anniversary, it is not some distant past. The soldiers there were our Grandfathers, Great-Grandfathers, Great-Uncles.
We all know the main points, a 5 month offensive which resulted in over 1.3 million dead from both sides. The British/French side being made of many more nations; Australia, Bermuda, , Canada, India, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa.
The lines of young men walking slowly across uneven muddy fields, dying in their hundreds, whole generations wiped out from towns and villages. Pointlessness that should have been the war to end all wars but instead set the seeds for the next one. Not something to glory over but something we should learn from.
I am no historian especially with regard to war and tactics, I am too emotional but is that a bad thing? Look what happens when you stop viewing soldiers (or civilians) as people. I sure as hell don’t want my daughter to go fight in a war, the same if I had a son. I would be a hypocrite if I thought it was acceptable for anyone else’s child to do so.
So many of our conflicts have roots in earlier ones, sometimes it feels that humanity is determined to wipe ourselves out. Some days I feel that might be a good thing. But think what we could achieve if we worked together.
It seems to me to be much better to live for a cause than to die for one.