One hundred years. Millions of lives cruelly lost. Four years of fighting but still feeling the devestating effects to this day. Families broken. Brave soldiers sacrificing everything for their country. Hoping for a better future for generations to come. Many lying about their ages to join the battle. Leaving friends and loved ones, and forging strong bonds with their brothers in arms. The courage of so many to prepare for the end every day. The fear within each private but trudging on through the bleakest of times. Marching for glory. Marching for the man next to you. Marching to see your beloved again.
Orders and missions each day, with your rifle as your protector from the gunshots across the field. Many could have been friends outside of this bloodshed, but instead, every shot and every fallen enemy is one step closer to home. Humans trained to be killers. The cruel and harsh reality of war.
Harrowing clips a hundred years ago give us a glimpse of life as a soldier. The bravery, the struggle and the comradery shown is truly heartbreaking. As heavy artillery is exploding around them, they fought to protect their fellow men and even carry their brothers to safety, knowing that they could be the next one to take a bullet. Haunting smiles on the faces in the trenches as any second they could be called into action.
These were ordinary men lest we forget, from butchers and bakers to teachers and bankers. As an alarm wakes us up to start the day, these men would wake up to the sound of screams and pain. As we plan the next day, many men would think if there was even a tomorrow. Sending texts to friends and family today. In 1914-1918, heartfelt letters and crushing telegrams were sent home to their wives and partners.
They shall not grow old, because we will never let them, as we remember the fallen on this day. Fighting for freedom and a stronger Britain, for without their sacrifice, I would not be sitting here writing this post a hundred years on. As wreaths are laid down at 11 this morning, I hope one day that weapons are laid down for good. Although the nation mourns the lives lost in fields and beaches on Rememberence Sunday, for the bereaved who also suffered in this tragic war, every day is Rememberance Sunday.
By George Millard