Today, being Remembrance Sunday (As opposed to Remembrance Day-11 November) Many of the programmes on the television had some sort of wartime connection. Firstly, there was the magnificent ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, laying of wreaths by the Queen and other members of the Royal family; the heads of armed services; the clergy and a myriad of other organisations with some sort of connection with the services. It was a relatively sunny day which enhanced the beauty of this solemn occasion and the magnificence of the cards and batnds.that led the procession. Although it would have been more moving to have been in the crowd in Whitehall, watching the whole thing on television still made one very proud of the discipline and precision of the troops and other organisations involved. I think it no exaggeration to suggest that the whole thing was timed down to seconds. It has always been my view that the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, due to be held here next July, could well do worse than to include something on the lines of the Royal Tournament, which involves all of the armed services demonstrating their skills and discipline but in a very entertaining way. It is after all, something to which we are supreme and which is essentially British.
Even my wife’s favourite programme, The Antique Road Show, concentrating on memorabilia from the two World Wars. Some of the interviews were very heartrending and the interviewer and person being interviewed, more than once choked on their words with a tear streaking down their cheeks. It was all very moving and something which I totally believe should be repeated once a year to keep alive the horrors of warfare in the hope of educating the next generation to avoid such a futile waste of young men and women.
To round off the evening of television they showed My Boy Jack, the Story of Rudgard Kipling’s son struggling to get into the services to please his father and then subsequently being killed in one of the many pointless storming attempts on the German frontline trenches where, over the duration of the war, many thousands of young men were simply mowing down like wheat being harvested. I believe I heard that on the first day of the Battle of the Somme 57,000 young men lost their lives. What an horrendous waste of a generation The intensity of the Kipling’s grief on learning of his son’s death was very touching. His emotions wavered between being torn by the intensity of his loss and his immense pride that his son had lost his life in the service of his country.
I know I spent some considerable time delving into the debt problems on the EU countries in the last couple of entries, so will not touch on these again for the time being. Although nothing to do with the EU but more to do with the global financial situation I have been aware for some years of the problems that Japan had suffered in a very long recession. Ironically, along with the Germans. they were our bitterest enemies but now, some 60 years later, we must forgive but perhaps ,not forget. The Japanese are an extraordinary race of people starting from an entirely different cultural base to us. They were, in fact, for the first suicide bombers with their kamikaze pilots.
When one of their major companies fails it is not unusual for the Chief Executive Officer to commit harikari (suicide) by falling on his sword. (It as much as we can do in this country to get them to resign with a very compensation package). So one needs to understand the mentality of these strange people to appreciate how they coped with one of the worst disasters since the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima. From this I think you will understand why I was fascinated to see photographs of various parts of Japan before, and six months after, the tsunami. and earthquake. What is so amazing about the ‘after’ photographs is that they showed how incredibly quickly. the Japanese had cleared up the mass of debris and utter devastation, in such a short time,, even to the point in one area of having cleared and ploughed the land and began physically to plant their crops.. I wonder whether, if we suffered such a calamity, we would have managed the same feat and get dropped back into business in such a short time without help or intervention from any other nation? Click here to see these amazing photographs.