Yet it is indisputable that those freedoms for which they fought and are fighting have been steadily eroded, to the point where we are no longer an independent nation. We have lost that ultimate freedom—the freedom to govern ourselves.
This, however, will be the last Remembrance Day before the Lisbon Treaty comes into force. Next year, we will be remembering not only the lives that were expended in the cause of our freedom, but the fact that we have, despite the sacrifices, lost that freedom. Those who died have died in vain.
So, I propose that Remembrance Sunday becomes a day when we try to remember not those who died, but what it was that they died for.
In the future, Remembrance Sunday should be the day when we all try to remember what this strange thing called "freedom" actually was.
UPDATE: notwithstanding the theme of the above, this poem always affects me—not least because I played Wilfred Owen in a production of a play (which we performed on 11/11 many years ago) that took on a life of its own in our minds.
Anthem For Doomed Youth
What passing bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
If we are to remember the many dead, let us remember that they died to ensure that Britain could continue to rule herself—they fought (amongst others) Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm and Hitler to ensure that simple power that our government has now voluntarily signed away.
May the dead soldiers live on, and may the living politicians die in pain.
UPDATE 2: that last line's almost poetic. I wonder...
May all of those soldiers who bravely died—
All those who're maimed, who cursed and cried—
Live on and inspire us with their pain
And encourage us to be great again.
Those soldiers are shamed by politicos
Whose vanity ensured those deaths in vain;
And quiescent people, not bellicose,
Who deceive and steal for petty gain.
May we who sleep, our anger quelled,
Rise up one day, cause rightly held,
And taking these traitors, rope in hand,
Hang them from each tree in the land.
Hmmm. I never was a poet, but it'll do for now...