I hesitate to call it The Great War for there is nothing great about it – only man’s inhumanity to man. We have just celebrated Remembrance Sunday. Once again we were shown footage on T V of the bright faces of young men cheerfully waving goodbye to girlfriends, wives, and families as they set off for the trenches. Later we would see images of broken bodies, mud and hear poems of despair. ‘Oh how they were fooled!’ was the hidden message I heard. The least we could do was to remember them and the sacrifices they made.
Last Sunday I was asked to offer Mass for a soldier who died at the Battle of the Somme, by his niece. [ I included all soldiers who had died in war]. She told me that she would love to have gone to the memorial celebrations at the Diamond but it was not politically correct to do so. Accordingly, out of fear she stayed away. I told her I hoped that day had gone and I would personally accompany her to the celebrations next year if she wished. In fact I wore a poppy this year as I have done before. It is time to abandon the ditches of prejudice we have built, to leave our comfort zones and take risks, to stop our ‘them and us’ way of thinking and replacing it with ‘we’.