I have now been retired from the British Army for longer than I served in it. 22 years later and almost 30 years on from the operational duty that I served in(Op-Corporate) otherwise known as the operation to recapture the Falkland Islands, my memories don’t fade but become more poignant and sad. I am unable to say why or what it means but I dread the onset of this week of remembrance,I dread the the crisp clear air which always seem to prevail on the Sunday morning when all these old and now young servicemen, servicewomen and the comrades I do not know but feel a huge affinity with, troop off to various services to “remember”.

Locked up often in our own thoughts,unable to explain to anyone the feelings of melancholy and sadness juxtaposed with pride and belonging.Not to Queen and Country but to each other,because none of those things even enter one’s mind when in the thick of it except each other and the kinship that we all feel even when we can’t stand each other in peacetime surroundings.

So once again this year comes the dread. I will walk my dog Dave to the village cenotaph arriving at 3 or 4 minutes to the appointed hour. I will not wear a poppy or speak to the other people there and at 2 minutes past the hour having waited for the last post and seen in my mind’s eye the cemetary at San Carlos where my pal is buried and which will remain a part of England forever, troop off to the local pub and toast the memory of a good life wasted and all the other good lives wasted, for what?

In a few years another phalanx of bright young things fresh from some university or another and now elected to lead us into our brave new world will send more young people off to the slaughter so we can continue to “remember” and another generation will stand in sombre thought remembering their pals.

And in their minds eye it is impossible for them to grow old,for that’s how they were when we knew them, but wouldn’t it have been nice to have the opportunity to grow old with our comrades.

Shame on us all.

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