It is grimly ironic, says Savi Hensman, that on Armistice Day UK news headlines included the announcement of a new benefits system which punishes the ‘workshy’ and a report showing inadequate care for many elderly NHS patients undergoing surgery.
What must we do to understand the meaning of remembrance, to remember human suffering, and to grasp the human dignity lying so far beyond the ritual words at this time of year?, asks Jill Segger. Only painful truth-telling is adequate to the task, she says.
It was with a rather heavy heart that I got my first media call today about the annual "red poppy" dust-up - which usually revolves around attacks from the Daily Mail and its kindred spirits on broadcasters, public figures and politicians who don't wear the British Legion Appeal symbol or who raise questions about what the practice means.
“I hear those voices that will not be drowned”. These words from Peter Grimes are pierced through the four metre high sculpture by Maggi Hambling which stands on the beach at Aldeburgh in celebration of the life and work of Benjamin Britten. Read against the Suffolk sky, they go straight to the heart.
David Cameron’s desire to wrap himself in the flag, and to beat a war drum for military force as the “front and centre of our national life”, fails to engage key policy issues on the Afghan conflict and to acknowledge research findings about the public’s desire for more realistic ways of remembering the victims of war, says the Christian political thinktank Ekklesia.
This is the first November since the death of the “last Tommy”, Harry Patch. But Patch regarded Remembrance Day as "just show business". We can honour his memory by recognising that it's time to change the way that we remember.