Remembrance Day in Britain: ‘what was it all for?’ 71

 Ninety years ago today, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the First World War came to an end. In Britain good men and women wear poppies in commemoration of that day, and of the ending of the Second World War. The poppy was chosen as a symbol of the sacrifice that the soldiers, sailors and airmen made because so many were buried in Flanders fields where the poppies grow among the graves. Annually the Queen lays a wreath of poppies at the foot of the Cenotaph in Whitehall on the nearest Sunday to the Day of Remembrance. There are parades of veterans. (Three from the First World War are still alive in Britain.) At exactly eleven o’clock in the morning, as Big Ben begins to strike the hour, a ceremonious minute of silence  is observed for those who died defending their country.

The wars ended in victory for Britain, with the indispensable help of America; and so, along with the mourning on this day, there was always a sense of pride among the multitudes at the Cenotaph, and throughout the country, among the descendants of the heroes who had died and of those who had survived. 

But not now. 

The country so many fought so valiantly for has given away its sovereignty, permitted occupation by aliens, been abandoned to criminals. The elected representatives of the people, the politicians, prompted and cheered on by intellectuals in the academies and the media, shrill ideologues of ‘human-rights’ and ‘political correctness’ and ‘multiculturalism’, have betrayed the British people and brought them to shame, impotent anger, bitterness and despair.    

Leo McKinstry writes in the  Daily Express about Britons asking, on this Day of Remembrance, ‘What was it all for?’  (Read the whole story here.)

The question was put to me with stark simplicity.

“What was it all for?” asked the elderly lady, a wistful look in her eyes. “The country that they died for has gone,” she continued, glancing down at the red poppy on her lapel. I had fallen into conversation with her on the steps of the Imperial War Museum in London. Against such a backdrop, dominated by two mighty naval guns at the main entrance, it was inevitable that our thoughts should turn to war and sacrifice. She explained that she had lost close relatives in both World Wars and as a teenager had endured the horrors of the Blitz. Mixed with her admiration for family heroes who had lost their lives in conflict, she also felt utter despair at the state of Britain and a profound sense of betrayal. Although her loved ones had given so much for their country, she now felt like an alien in her own land, living in constant fear of crime and surrounded by foreigners with whom she had no sense of mutual belonging or trust. Her insistent question –  “What was it all for?” – has also been echoing through my mind as I research a book about Bomber Command during the Second World War. It mounted perhaps the most bloody and dangerous British offensive of the conflict, as crews of the heavy bombers flew night after night over Germany through vicious flak from the ground and from Luftwaffe fighters.  Their long-term chances of survival were minimal. More than half of all men who served in air crews were killed in action. The courage required to step into those aircraft for the long journey in blackened night skies over enemy territory is almost beyond imagination.  Thousands of young Britons volunteered for this hellish role, motivated by their deep love of country and an abiding sense of a higher duty to others. They died for their nation but that nation barely exists any more. It has been destroyed by the politicians, its sovereignty handed over to an unelected continental bureaucracy, its economy sold off to foreign interests, its heritage traduced or ignored, its cities turned into modern Babels full of discordant tongues and wailing mosques. 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, November 11, 2008

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