only remembered


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The First World War has been something that has interested me for as long as I can remember. I don't know where the fascination came from, but I know that it will stay with me for a long time. I don't like knowing about specific military actions or the political reasons as to why the war occurred, I just love learning about the lives of the men who fought. This was "the war to end all wars", and these men had absolutely no idea what faced them when they left their families behind. I often try to imagine how they must have felt, what it must have been like, but I think this is something that is truly unimaginable. I do not think that anyone could imagine what they went through, even those serving today. The environment was so very different, and the scale so very large.

In 2008, on the weekend of the 90th anniversary of the armistice, I was blessed with the chance to tour some of the battlefields in France and Belgium. I visited the fields of the Somme, where I spent a moving few minutes in a small cemetery in the middle of a farmer's field, and was shown the shell holes that still shape the landscape today. Amongst many others, I visited the beautiful Thiepval Memorial, where I was blown away by the sheer number of names etched into the stone, and Tyne Cot Memorial, where I was able to find the plaque commemorating my great-great uncle, who was killed during the battle of Passchendaele, and lay a poppy in remembrance. Attending a remembrance service at the Menin Gate one evening, sharing thanks and sorrow with thousands of others, was truly something else. Ever since, I have felt much more strongly about remembrance, and every parade or wreath laying that I have been a part of, be it through school or The Girls' Brigade, has been even more profound. 

I came to know the words above through the play War Horse. They are so thought provoking, and I absolutely love the tune to which they are sung. It is, perhaps, my favourite part of the play. The company of War Horse, along with John Tams, performed it at this year's Festival of Remembrance. It was a very fitting tribute, I think.

We will remember them.

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