Lest We Forget Has Been Forgotten.

I was sick and asleep at 11am. But I've taken my own two minutes and had a wider think about Remembrance Sunday.

It seems this year that Armistice and Remembrance have been overshadowed. The US election has been rather distracting for half of the planet, and people have been constantly discussing what it, and Brexit, mean for the future... a future that some envisioning as something very akin to several events in the first half of the last century.


This has happened in part because we have gradually stopped remembering. We need to look back now more than ever. Not with the usual cursory glance that is sent merely out of duty, but with a long hard stare. Not just back to the deaths of the soldiers, and the civilians that have died through acts of war, but to those that have died and suffered in the run up to conflicts.

We all joke about the perpetual studying of the big events that lead up to the Two World Wars; singular murders, concentration camps, national boundaries being crossed by armies.  We study hard, but we're not studying right. We study the atrocities with the dispassionate eyes of historians. We study the numbers and the big names, but we don't study the individuals. We aren't coaxed into thinking about the suffering, just the events.

The closest we come to thinking about the struggles of individuals, who were like ourselves rather than lofty historical figures, is in English lit classes when we look at war poetry. Even that is abstracted and detached as we are taught to dissect the words, and understand the usage rather than to envision what the words are describing, and how the men felt when they scribbled down those words.

It's no good just looking, we have to feel. It's no good just remembering, we have to imagine. History repeats, they say, and it's because our visceral cultural memory only goes back a couple of generations. Right now that means that, culturally, we only remember society from the post-war perspective. We've stopped thinking about what happened to people before 1945. We think of 1939-1945 in numbers and caricatures of big names. And we barely think of pre-1939 at all, outside of the classroom.

We NEED to remember. It's not difficult; it's all happening again.
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