Today is Armistice Day and, like countless others, I observed the two minute silence to think of, and respect, those who have lost their lives in war.
What did I think of, in that two minutes of reflection?
Each year, I find my thoughts following the same pattern, going over the same thoughts. I think of young soldiers in the First World War, barely seventeen or eighteen, cowering, freezing and terrified, in a foot or so of liquid mud at the bottom of a trench, as shells explode around them, awaiting the one that will send them into oblivion.
I think of torpedoed sailors, slowly drowning in stormy seas, their heavy sea boots dragging them under, as gunfire rips across the water towards them.
I think of airmen baling out of an aircraft that has been hit by enemy fire, hanging helplessly in the sky beneath their parachutes as fighters zoom towards them and then cut them in half with machine gun fire.
I think of soldiers, sailors, airmen, civilians, women, children, animals…burnt beyond recognition, locked in a ghastly rictus of agony as they breathe in deadly gas, crushed, executed for being terrified, executed for helping others, killed for being the wrong nationality, or race, or religion…
I think of all those who died in a war that was not of their making or choosing.
I have nothing but respect, admiration and pity for each and every one of them.
I have nothing but anger that they should have had to go through what they went through.
And I pray that no one else should ever have to go through those hells just because politicians cannot get their acts together.