It will not have escaped your notice that it's November 11th today. Here in the south of the Netherlands is the start of the Carnival season and as such steeped in mirth, booze and dancing people.
Yet this post is about remembrance. A few weeks ago I was in the UK with school as we visited Oxford and environs. The media were full of the "poppy" discussion, I wear one too, this is odd in the Netherlands because we were not involved in the Great War and many people do not understand. Well I teach history and if I can get pupils interested in the how and why of remembrance and keeping those who gave their lives for us alive in any small way I will.
So yes I wear a poppy (an enamel one bought in Ypres some years ago since you cannot get one here) to think of all those who have fallen, NOT because I am a warmonger or militarist. Wargamers are often accused of being fond of war and bloodshed, yet I think that warGAMING is a game in the first place and learning about history second. The latter also gives us a pretty good picture of just how gruesome war and battlefields are and thus we tend to look for peaceful solutions in real life. Like throwing dice to solve them ;-)
In the Netherlands we have Memorial day on May the Forth and Liberation Day on May the Fifth. At first these were to commemorate the Fallen from WW2 and to celebrate our liberation by the Allies. At present, in letter at least we commemorate all Fallen in armed conflicts since 1939, but in truth the emphasis is still pretty much on WW2.
The poppies below grew in our garden in late summer this year and are amongst my favourite flowers. In about two weeks I will take along 122 pupils to Ypres and Tyne Cot and show them just what War leads to and hope they will feel a bit moved at least and stand still to think about sacrifices made back through the last 100 years for our freedom now.
So Lest We Forget!