WE SHALL REMEMBER!!
Watching the remembrance services for those who needlessly died in the First World War, I found myself becoming very angry. Not because of the services but because of the way the living were treated after the war, nobody helped them.
Governments like the ‘Glorious Dead’, they don’t cost anything and one Sunday a year not even the correct day for remembrance, that being the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month just so industry does not waste a days work, is insulting to their memory. The parade in front of the Cenotaph on the nearest Sunday to the eleventh is the only time the ordinary people get to show their respect and see the organisations who actually help the surviving servicemen. What you do not see is a contingent of caring government ministers in the parade. They dug up four bodies from the morass of Passchendaele and one became the ‘Unknown Warrior’ and was buried with the great and the good in Westminster Abbey.
What governments don’t like are those who survive, they have to spend money on them. “We will build a land fit for heroes”! Those words were spoken but in actuality the returning heroes found a land of typhoid, typhus, rickets, polio and smallpox waiting for them. A society so lacking in the basics of decent homes, food and work. What no one will tell you is the greatest killer of the twenties and thirties was influenza – Spanish Flu it killed millions.
I don’t know why the Spanish got the blame, as it actually started in the United States of America. It came to Europe mutated went back to the USA then finally returned to Europe.
When you live in a slum with sewage mixing with drinking water, houses little more than hovels, is this a land ‘fit for heroes’?
The time between the First and Second World Wars was twenty one years. Some people served in both wars, but during that period more people died in Britain from malnutrition and disease than died in both world wars. They were starving and hunger marches were common, and while all this was happening the uncaring politicians and ruling classes lived the high life. I notice no one mentions that!
Yes we must remember the dead and respect them because they made the ultimate sacrifice, but we must also remember and help the living. After the First World War thousands of service personnel were left crippled or blinded with little more hope than beggars. The fit and able-bodied heroes suddenly found themselves thrown out on the street. Women who had worked in the utmost danger in munitions factories were also thrown on to the streets.
Remember the dead yes, but remember the living also, because governments WON’T!.
© Michael Douglas Bosc