15. Oct, 2017


This is the copy of an email I sent to my pen friend in the United States…

Last Tuesday we explored the "Jurassic Coast" of Dorset and east Devon. It is where the science of Geology began and it has been accorded World Heritage status putting it on a par with the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China.

We left Weymouth and crossed the narrow causeway to the Isle of Portland, famous as the source of the stone used by Sir Christopher Wren to rebuild St. Paul's and much else after the 1666 Great Fire of London.

After admiring Chesil Beach and it's huge lagoon from a promontory, I turned to the large obelisk there that commemorates the local dead in two world wars.

Now there is no way I want to belittle or tarnish their memory, but having seen hundreds of such memorials up and down the country, I was again struck by the same two things.

The first is its use of the word "glorious." Having walked European battlefields from the Somme in 1916 to Normandy in 1944, I have seen precious little evidence of glory but much of suffering and violent death.
“Zero wanna be heroes,
But millions  wanna be civilians”

Secondly, so much sentiment is expended on the dead, I feel compelled to ask what of the living- men like my step-father 1914-18 and father 1939-1945 who along with millions more volunteered tp serve their country and who survived?
What too of those who returned physically and psychologically impaired?

Honourably excused from such criticism is the rare war memorial we once found in Padstowe for proving that IT COSTS NOTHING TO SAY A "THANK YOU" NOT ONLY TO THOSE WHO DIED BUT TO THOSE THAT  CAME HONOURABLY BACK.