Boakesey Closs is the ninth Manx Bard. Each month, Boakesey will be sharing one of her poems with us, and letting us know some of the thoughts and ideas that inspired it.
November, or at least the first half of it, is traditionally the time for remembrance.
No, I don’t mean remembering the events that happened in London a few centuries ago, which are ‘celebrated’ with fireworks and bonfires around the fifth of the month; I’m referring to more recent events.
No veterans of the ‘Great War’ or ‘War to End all Wars’ are still alive and there are very few survivors of the Second World War, either.
This has led to some people suggesting that it’s time to stop the annual Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day commemorations as (they claim) they are ‘no longer relevant in the 21st century’.
Other people assert that such events are jingoistic or seek to glorify colonialism and/or warfare. All of these ideas are wrong.
You only have to pay attention to the news to know that sadly, conflict is still ongoing all around this world of ours.
I’m not going into the politics of these situations; I’m simply pointing out that these events are current; wars are not a thing of the past.
British – including Manx – service people have been involved in conflict, peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts for decades.
Some left homes and families and never returned, or came back permanently affected physically and/or emotionally. All of these veterans deserve our ongoing support and are why remembrance and the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal are still vitally important to fund the needs of veterans and their families.
It’s entirely your choice whether you participate in Remembrance events or buy a poppy.
Personally, I hope you will, but if you don’t, at least you now know why we still need to do this.
Remember, too, that if past generations had not fought to maintain our freedom, you might not even have that choice today.
Look! Look at the news and tell me
that Remembrance Day is obsolete.
Look at the War memorials
listing brothers, fathers, sons
Relatives of many here today.
Look at your television’s daily
scenes of conflict, death, destruction.
Look at the local papers,
not just the UK dailies.
You’ll read of local folk who signed up for
a bit of adventure, perhaps to learn a trade.
Doing their bit with humanitarian aid;
Peacekeeping; protecting innocent victims
even when it puts them smack bang in
the middle of the conflict zone.
Look around at those with us today and see
living veterans of conflicts far and near
Twenty-somethings up to eighty-plus.
Look at how their memories haunt their eyes.
For them, Remembrance isn’t just one day
It’s today and tomorrow and all their days to come.
Look – with open eyes and heart, then
tell me Remembrance Day is obsolete.