Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dulce Et Decorum Est....

Two days ago was the 29th anniversary of the blowing up of the Sir Galahad and the Sir Tristram in the Falklands Conflict.  The children and I talked about it, because we look at "This Day in History" on the BBC website.  We talked about the burning ships, I told them Simon Weston's story and we looked at pictures of how this handsome lad.......

Simon Weston

became this terribly burned man..........

Simon Weston

became this survivor.........

working hard to make the lives of current soldiers better.

These, I told my children, these are the faces of war.  This is what war does.  Simon Weston was a Falklands face, this lad is an Afghanistan face, but they all did it because it was the right thing to do.   We talked about how Prince Andrew was flying one of the helicopters that helped blow the lifeboats away from the burning ships.  We talked about what it means to depend on your mates, to trust and hope and pray that it all turns out ok.  I talked about Rich being away, and what that felt like.

On the 20th June, we shall go across to the Gardens, and see the flag raised for Armed Forces Day, and we shall stand and show our respect.  On 22nd June, we shall walk up to town and watch the RAF Parade, and applaud these men and women who are so brave, who joined up knowing we were in a long and drawn out conflict in Afghanistan.  I have told the children that anyone who we think, as a class, might find it hard to make the right choices, will be asked to remain behind.  They'll have nice things to do, because it isn't a punishment, it's an acceptance of differences, but I told my class to look at Simon Weston's face, and understand why we were doing this.

If they were bigger, we could have read Wilfred Owen's amazing poem "Dulce Et Decorum Est" which is a gloriously descriptive way of looking at the frontline war in the trenches.  If they were bigger, we'd watch the end of Blackadder IV.

But they aren't.  They are 7/8/9 year old children, and now they know why we go and why we will always go, and why, when they are bigger, they should go on their own, why we have 2 minutes silence and how that will never be enough.

If we forget the lessons of the past, we are doomed to repeat them.  I can't remember who said that, but they are right.  We owe, and we must not forget.

No comments: