87% of population say 'dead on all sides' should be marked on Remembrance Sunday

87% of population say 'dead on all sides' should be marked on Remembrance Sunday

London, UK - 8 Nov 2009 The deaths of those who fought against Britain should be marked alongside the British dead on Remembrance Sunday, according to 87 per cent of the population.

The remarkable results come in a ComRes poll commissioned by the thinktank Ekklesia and carried out in the week leading up to Remembrance Sunday.

The poll found that 87 per cent of the population agree with the statement: "Remembrance Sunday should be about marking the dead on all sides of war, not just the British."

Ninety-three per cent say they believe that contrary to existing remembrance traditions, civilians who died in war should also be remembered.

Ninety-five per cent say they think the main message of Remembrance Sunday should be one of peace.

When asked about the current war in Afghanistan, 53 per cent say they feel that politicians' treatment of people in the Armed Forces there goes against the lessons of Remembrance Day.

The results come alongside the publication of a report by the thinktank Ekklesia which suggests that Remembrance Sunday should be 'reimagined' to take account of changing views of war.

Ekklesia co-director Jonathan Bartley said: "When Archbishop Robert Runcie remembered the Argentinian dead in a service at St Paul's Cathedral, he caused a political storm. But it now appears that the overwhelming majority feel that deaths on all sides should be remembered.

"Misgivings about the way we remember have been expressed for many decades. Harry Patch, the 'last Tommy' who died this year expressed his own reservations, and laid wreaths of poppies on both German and British graves.

"We can remember well, or we can remember badly. The time has come for us to update our remembrance traditions, and acknowledge that we cheapen remembrance if we do not recognise the full tragedy of war for everyone, and make an active commitment to peace. If we do not, we dishonour the memory of those who died."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. ComRes telephoned 1009 GB adults on 4-5 November. Data were weighted to be representative of all adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables at www.comres.co.uk from 00.01hrs on Sunday 8 November 2009.

2. The survey results can be read in full here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/content/remembranceresults.pdf

3. The Ekklesia report "Reimaging Remembrance" is available at: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/research/reimagining_remembrance