Armistice Day ’19

Can’t usually post any work pics, but these already went up on the station public page so I should be safe from getting in trouble.

Personally I was part of the parade contingents for my station in 2 separate acts of remembrance, the first being yesterday in our local town, the 2nd was today and in one of the hangars on base with pretty much the entirety of station personnel turned out. I can’t pretend I personally love drill, and it’s not the marching so much but the standing still as a statue for extended periods and I know anyone who’s served will understand that particular issue. I admittedly find that part uncomfortable and I’ve seen dozens of people just fall down right on their faces for one reason when standing in a formation. Usually very young folks or people who’ve not had enough sleep/water or those who’ve been drinking the night before.

All that said, if I’m going to be part of a parade then the anniversary of armistice day is the one I would choose without a shadow of a doubt. In our nearby town the vicar read the names of all the men killed who had grown up there, spanning WW1, WW2 and the troubles in Northern Ireland. I think it should be noted and looked upon positively that the list from WW1 was extensive, with only a couple of names from NI and nothing past that. The news might try to make you think otherwise, but war has been on the general decline for a long time now, the global powers don’t fight each anymore and deaths in battle since 1945 have only been decreasing. Conflicts and genocides tragically still happen in some parts of the world, but if you live in the west and serve then your chances of dying in war are minimal now compared to many decades past. I think the great reverence give to each individual lost in Afghanistan and Iraq are great examples of this.

The local vicar and our base padre had some very interesting words during the services the past couple of days. They spoke a lot about freedom and peace and how those two things are the real reasons so many names are etched on so many walls out there. For some reasons I can’t understand there are some segments of society today that want less individual freedom and will espouse violence against those who disagree with their goals, though usually such people are more likely to burn poppies than wear them. There are hypocrites on all sides however and personally I support everyone’s right to say what they want even when I don’t like it.

Another message discussed was with regards what you do with your time on this earth and how you generally live your life. You might not fall on the battlefield, but you get one go at this and one day someone will choose the words to sum up everything you did and everything you were in the space of just a couple of minutes. Does make you think.

So if you post on social media about how significant it is that all these people laid down their lives to defeat tyranny and pervasive evil (the Third Reich, ISIS, the list goes on) just keep in mind the good values held by the men and women who did make the ultimate sacrifice. If you do that and put your efforts in life towards helping people live their lives free from oppression, fear, hunger and despair, then you definitely won’t go far wrong.

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