diamond geezer

 Saturday, November 14, 2009

poppyThere's been a tangible pro-military shift in public opinion of late. The army is no longer full of soldiers, but of heroes. A poppy is no longer an expression of individual conscience, but a nationwide expectation. No civilian is afforded greater importance than a bereaved parent. And woe betide anyone who causes "offence" by failing to display respectful behaviour towards Our Lads, because that's the media's new expected norm. As pride replaces honour, it's almost as if Army Worship has replaced Christianity as our new national religion.

I'd prefer to reflect on the futility of war, not revel in its glorification. I'd prefer to decide for myself how I remember the dead, rather than being coerced into obligatory public display. I'd prefer a single tribute to the casualties of war each Remembrancetide, rather than three weeks of build-up culminating in two separate silences. I'd prefer to commemorate long-fallen veterans rather than prioritising desert-booted teenagers. I'd prefer to watch the news without being exposed to lengthy over-reverential reviews of some passing cort├Ęge. And I'd prefer to see tolerance from politicians and the press, rather than shame and vilification every time some unfortunate soul fails to demonstrate sufficient military deference.

I'd prefer to go back to how things used to be - respect for our Armed Forces rather then reverence, and gratitude rather than fawning. But I fear that by the time the next Remembrance Sunday comes around, exactly one year from today, this jingoistic Army Worship will be even more entrenched. At ease.

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