Armistice Day 2021


Because this is Remembrance (Armistice) Day, I revisited this photo which I took in 2014, the year that saw the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1. It was in the grounds of the Hooge Crater Museum in Flanders, Belgium.

Ironmongery from WW1 left in the area of Hooge Crater near Ypres in Flanders is a poignant reminder of the waste of that war that was supposed to end all wars, but didn't. Waste of so many young men and boys, waste of horses, waste of material resources, waste of energy, destruction of farmland and woods. And what was that all for? What did WW1 achieve? And what did the Armistice and the Peace Treaty that followed achieve? The seeds of WW2 among other things.

Maybe like me you struggle in the silence to make sense of it all and to crave and pray for true peace to prevail. It's always hard when it seems there are always new wars, bloodshed and violence somewhere in the world today. 

I think that's way this poem speaks to me so powerfully today as it has in previous years. In a Sonnet for Remembrance Day, called 'Silence', Malcolm Guite writes:


November pierces with its bleak remembrance
Of all the bitterness and waste of war.
Our silence tries but fails to make a semblance
Of that lost peace they thought worth fighting for.
Our silence seethes instead with wraiths and whispers,
And all the restless rumour of new wars,
The shells are falling all around our vespers,
No moment is unscarred, there is no pause,
In every instant bloodied innocence
Falls to the weary earth ,and whilst we stand
Quiescence ends again in acquiescence,
And Abel’s blood still cries in every land
One silence only might redeem that blood
Only the silence of a dying God.