And so, here we are, remembering. Remembering not just those who we would call ‘our boys’ but all the boys who died. So many lost. Fathers, husbands, lovers, brothers, sons, cousins, friends – lost on all sides. Sent over the top to die, losing their lives to a promise unfulfilled that this was the ‘war to end all wars’.
Let us not forget today that this war did not end all wars, we did not lay down our arms, we did not build bridges of reconciliation and we have not learned to love our enemies. The casualties of war increase. Since 1990, over 90% of all those who lost their lives in war were civilians. Did they choose to lay them down? Did they understand or believe in ‘the cause’?
Lest we forget those millions who died in the first world war, as the powers wrangled for control, lest we forget all those who die because of so many complex issues. Let us never glorify our inability to get on and love each other. Let us soberly reflect on the atrocities our hatred, greed and division causes us and let us be more determined to tear down our walls of hostility, and build cultures of positive peace.
Only love and hope can do this. Love forces us to put away the pointing finger and work collaboratively. It causes us to put away suspicion of the other and embrace them. Many of the enemies we have created in our minds are only enemies because we allow ourselves to think of them as such. Lest we forget the fallen, let us remember the pain, the loss, the senselessness. And let us ask ourselves again, what kind of future we can imagine in which the health and wellbeing of everybody, everywhere really matters to us all. Let this hope carry us forward to the peace we still long for.