First and foremost, I’d like to acknowledge and pay my respects to all people that have been affected by war.
Conflict has had such a wide scope of destruction.
Generations have been wiped out, families have never seen their children again, and survivors are haunted by physical and mental traumas.
For me, one of the most poignant reminders of the lost lives is war poetry.
There’s something archaic about poetry, as it’s an incredible preserver of history and human emotion.
Its transportative qualities connect past events to the present, making the sentiments resonate decades later.
Some of my favourite war poets are Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves and Isaac Rosenberg.
Personally, the most iconic of all time has to be Wilfred Owen.
His satirical approach to war poetry changed how the public perceived war, challenging the idea that there was glory in dying for your country.
Not only did he capture so much emotion with his pen, but his first-hand service in World War I illuminated the barbarism of the conflict.
Owen was killed serving on the front line on 4th November 1918, at just 25 years old, a week before the end of the war.
Tragically, as the nation celebrated Armistice Day and the bells rang throughout Britain, Owen’s mother was informed that she had lost her son.
Owen’s most famous poem has got to be Dulce and Decorum Est, which I’d highly recommend listening to/reading this Remembrance Sunday.
His words satirically challenge how conscription convinced a whole generation that it was ‘sweet and right to die for your country’.
The last few lines read:
“My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori”
Other Owen poems I’d recommend checking out are Disabled, Mental Cases and Anthem for Doomed Youth.
The rhetoric in his words show that it’s not just about remembering the dead, but also learning from the mistakes of history.
It’s depressing to think that in 2015 we haven’t progressed much.
This heart-breaking image of a dead child being picked up at the Turkish shoreline is one that woke the world up.
There’s still time to help alleviate some of the destruction of war.
As easy as it is to ignore the struggles of people living hundreds of miles away, it’s important to use reminders of our lost troops as inspiration to give back.
The best way to honour the dead is to show them that their lives weren’t futile.