November 30, 2020

The Editor speaks: Why we remember them

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I am speaking here about the last Sunday (12) held outside Elmslie Church on Harbour Drive.

Although I do not remember the last war in Britain as I was born in 1943, I do have a remembrance of sheer terror of hearing an air raid siren. My mother told me, even as a baby, she knew when the siren was going to go off by the way I reacted. I could hear the noise of approaching planes minutes before the sirens went off and I cried and shook.

, writing in the UK’s Guardian newspaper headlined an article “No more remembrance days – let’s consign the 20th century to history”.

History?

But history is changed over time. History books are rewritten. Statues of people who fought for what they believed was right, are being torn down, most on the stupidest of reasons. And once torn down, the new generations do not see them and ask questions. So the mistakes of past history are made again and again.

Jenkins makes this most stupid of statements: “Almost all the conflicts in the world are caused by too much remembering: Britain should stop wallowing in past traumas and move on.”

It is because we stop remembering why the wars started and the sheer horror of them, is why they keep happening.

Jenkins goes on:

“Enough of Remembrance Day. This weekend’s memorial to “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” has become a synthetic festival whose time has passed. The wars of the 20th century are beyond the experience of the overwhelming majority of Britons. The composite of the Last Post, “lest we forget” and Oh! What a Lovely War is impregnated with enmity, atonement, forgiveness and self-congratulation. It has been reduced to the compulsory “corporate poppy”’.

I’m not going to make my blood boil by re-publishing anymore of his rubbish but if you want to read it go to: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/09/no-more-remembrance-days-consign-20th-century-history

The majority of the comments at the bottom of the article were against what Jenkins said, but even the ones who agreed with him were well written. None went to the extreme of saying his story was “stupid” and “rubbish” as I did.

This reply I liked very much:

“Simon Jenkins seems to forget that there have been other wars since those against . My son is a serving soldier. He knows people who have died on active service and takes Remembrance Day very seriously. He is not just remembering those who died a long time ago, but people who died very recently. He has no intention of dying for his country if he can help it, but has said that if he found himself about to lose his life because his country has sent him to fight, it would mean something to know that his country would remember him. If there are men and women ready to risk their lives because the British government has told them it is what their country demands, it does not seem to be asking a lot for Simon Jenkins to spend two minutes in silence to respect the sacrifice of those who died.”

Tom Williams

Twickenham, Middlesex

Yesterday afternoon I happened upon a discussion on Radio Cayman with Loxley Banks. One of the persons he was interviewing was Captain Dale Banks. It was very interesting listening to the programme and how many Caymanians fought either for the British or for the Americans against Germany. The bravery they went to to save people like Jenkins.

One of the points that all the persons on the programme agreed on is the call nowadays for “Appeasement” to a Dictator like Adolf Hitler – read now Kim Jong-un – will not work.

People seem to have forgotten the “peace for our time” declaration made by , Neville Chamberlain in 1938, when he arrived at Heston aerodrome in England waving a piece of paper after a meeting with Hitler.

The piece of paper was a private accord, signed earlier that day by Chamberlain and Hitler. Its three short paragraphs stressed the importance of Anglo-German relations, expressed the “desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again” and stated the common resolve to use negotiation in all future disagreements.

We all know how useless that piece of paper was. It was an appeasement from an appeaser. Winston Churchill said it best, “”An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

Another person answering Simon Jenkins said this

“The deeper issue is that we need to salute the sacrifice of the fallen and injured which so shaped the 20th and 21st centuries by making it our determination to secure peace as their lasting memorial. At such services, we find politicians of different parties standing side by side. We find leaders of once rival churches leading services together. We find Jewish and Asian and Caribbean people who can connect with the past and share with us the future. This mutual respect is a sign of hope, not war, and we can find in it renewal for our future vision. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana (1863-1952).

Prebendary Neil Richardson

Braintree, Essex

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Yes. That’s why we remember them.

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  1. […] Source: Cayman Eye News I am speaking here about the Remembrance Day Service last Sunday (12) held outside Elmslie Church on Harbour Drive. Although I do not remember the last war in Britain as I was born in 1943, I do have a remembrance of sheer terror of hearing an air raid siren. My… Link: The Editor speaks: Why we remember them […]

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