Two opposing views on celebration of war
I was pleased to hear the plans proposed by David Cameron to commemorate in two years' time the start of World War One. I have visited the Flanders area on several occasions after discovering that my uncle had been killed in action and is buried in France.
When we travel to my uncle's final resting place we visit many cemeteries and the CWGC are to be congratulated on the appearance in respect of the thousands of commonwealth heroes who gave their lives for our future.
While I hope that Bath will join in these commemorations, they currently do not give our heroes the respect our local casualties deserve.
I attach a photograph taken of one of our heroes in Smallcombe Cemetery where he lies buried with three other casualties. Bath may like to start here prior to 2014 to honour our locals and re-instate their graves to the honour they deserve.
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MALCOLM MITCHELL The Moorings Sydney Wharf Bath
I was shocked and depressed to hear our PM talking about the centenary of World War One as something to celebrate, and suggesting that such celebrations were essential to our sense of nationhood, and that the message should be taken into schools around the land.
And this on a day that began with worries that the potential lowering of the voting age would see politics taken into schools. Militarism and nationalism combine to make a pretty toxic ideology that our young people would be better off without, as would the rest of us.
War is the scourge of humanity and we should be not celebrating but lamenting the fact that 100 years on from a particularly brutal and senseless war, in which so much of the youth of this nation and others were maimed, driven mad and slaughtered, we should have learned nothing but still be seeing our endless commitment to warfare as something to glory in. That is not the message given by old soldiers like Harry Patch.
Could we not use this anniversary as an opportunity for deep reflection and events designed to promote a new, determined and urgent quest for demilitarisation and the development of capacities for negotiation, quiet diplomacy and the serious study of nonviolent people power and its potential. That is what is needed for the future of our nation and all others.
DIANA FRANCIS Prospect Place Beechen Cliff, Bath