Remembrance Sunday/A meditation

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Concept.png Remembrance Sunday/A meditation Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png

WhitePoppy.jpg No Man's Land

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An Eric Bogle song - a lyrical meditation if you will - that evokes the realities of war more honestly than the official ceremonies with their obfuscating leitmotif of restrained pomp and militarism - sung appropriately here in both English and German

Royal British Legion poppy

...and an aging WWII veteran dissenter writes:
"This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time"

White poppy

Most thinking people agree the continuing need for a nationwide act of remembrance; but many find the overt militarism of the current ceremonial inappropriate, not to say offensive, when it is the unspeakable horror of war and those who perished in it that ought properly to be its focus.
And since it is militarism and the pompous, catastrophic failures of leaders that are the root causes of war, sack-cloth and ashes would be rather more appropriate attire for ceremonial leaders than dress uniforms with rows of shiny medals.
The White Poppy Project of the Peace Pledge Union is an attempt to promote these issues


Well how do you do, Private Willy McBride,
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside?
And rest for a while in the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done.
I see by your gravestone you were only 19
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916,
Well I hope you died quick, and I hope you died clean
Or, Willy McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they Beat the drums slowly, Did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles sound The Last Post and chorus?
Did the pipes play the Flowers O' the Forest?

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some loyal heart, is your memory enshrined?
And though you died way back in 1916
To that loyal heart, you are always 19?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane.
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?


The sun's shining down on these green fields of France;
The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished long under the plough
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But there in this graveyard that's still No Man's Land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man’s blind indifference to his fellow man.
and a whole generation who were butchered and damned.


And I can't help but wonder, no Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you 'The Cause?'
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie McBride, it's all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.






Relevant external links

No Glory in War
Peace Pledge Union
Stop the War coalition
Poppy song petition


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Why I wear a white poppyarticle9 November 2018PeterA summary of the reasons why the author wears a white poppy during the UK Remembrance Day commemoration.
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