Lest We Forget

As we approach ANZAC Day here in New Zealand on the 25th of this month, I’m always reminded of those who fought in the war. Many lost their lives and those who returned were often scarred, if not physically, then emotionally.

My grandfather fought in the trenches of WWI, but he was never the same afterward. He died a couple of years before I was born, and I’m sad that I didn’t get the opportunity to meet him. He was an artist who, because of the depression, ended up painting houses and cars instead. I have some of his framed sketches from the 1920s hanging in my hallway. I remember my dad talking about him doodling in the margins of his newspaper to entertain them as children.

As part of the last orchestra concert I played in, we performed “Elegy for Strings in Memoriam for Rupert Brooke” by Frederick Kelly. Brooke was one of the war poets and died off the shores of Gallipoli after developing sepsis from a mosquito bite. Kelly survived that battle only to lose his life in the final days of the Battle of the Somme in November 1916. Both men died far too young.

You can hear a performance of the music here.

The piece is very haunting, and I think captures the feeling of loss all too well.

I’ve also been working on edits for the final book—Comes a Horseman—in my WWII series, Echoes Rising this month, another reason why I’ve been thinking about the brave men and women who fought to protect those they cared about.

To quote one of the characters from that story: “The last war was supposed to be the one to end all wars, and not even two decades later we’re fighting another one.”

A chilling thought, but one he—and I—felt he needed to say, and sadly still holding a degree of truth in regard to the state of the world today. We might not have had another world war but often it feels as though we’re teetering too close to the edge of one.

One of the symbols of ANZAC Day is a poppy. Although poppies became popular in remembering the fallen in WWI, the symbol is now used for all those who fought. In Normandy they lay poppies on the memorials to remember D-Day—the allied invasion of France on 6th June 1944 during WWII.

No one wins a war, and I think it’s important to remember the lessons of history and try to learn from them. I hear some say that if something happened before they were born, they don’t need to know about it, because it doesn’t affect them.

I disagree. I read and write stories set around the first half of the 20th Century for good reason. Not just because I enjoy historicals, and I think wars bring the best and worst out in people, but lest we forget.

13 Responses

  1. April Blog Post at Love Bytes Reviews: Lest We Forget | Drops of Ink

    […] Read the post here […]

  2. Tanja
    Tanja at |

    We should never forget. My country and family suffered tremendously in WWII. Each year we remember those who died and the next day we celebrate our freedom. My parents (survivors of WWII) passed this on to me and I did so towards my children. It is important to never forget especially in the world we are living in today. Never again.

  3. Trix
    Trix at |

    Since soldiers of the era have been so reluctant to talk about their wars before now, it’s especially important that we remember!

  4. 16forward
    16forward at |

    We recently watched a series on the History Channel that focused on President Woodrow Wilson. So much of history isn’t taught in schools! Wether it is due to time constraints or the slant taken by textbook publishers. Amazing and sad the things he did, and allowed to let happen, before, during and after the war. We all need to read more widely and search beyond the headlines.

  5. batchelorboy55
    batchelorboy55 at |

    Anne, when Australia & New Zealand have grown so far apart politically/socially, it is heartwarming that we can share the common ground of remembrance & reverance.

    I often wonder how much 1914-18 was considered a World War at the time. I often reflect on the sequence of battles since the first Gulf War, and wonder if it is our reluctance to call it World War III if not also IV?

    I did expect the link to youtube would be the Hutt Valley rendition!
    And I presume you have read Witi Ihimaera, The Uncle’s Story?

  6. H.B.
    H.B. at |

    Thank you for sharing the video and for the post. I felt that a lot of history isn’t covered enough in schools and among the younger crowd. I remember watching movies like depicting WWi & II and being horrified about the conditions and coldbloodedness.

  7. Purple Reader
    Purple Reader at |

    Thanks for the thoughtful post. I just finished watching the PBS series here in the US about WWI. Very sobering. And I wholeheartedly agree with you, and that’s one reason why I too like historicals – you can always trace today back to the past. As my fave Pres. Truman (a student of history himself) said, “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”


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