I never understood the meaning of war, nor could I comprehend why man would want to inflict such brutality onto his fellow man.
My generation – we are so privileged – we have no true understanding of what our grandparents and great grandparents had to endure!
We do not know what it feels like to be woken up in the middle on the night, taken down to the docks and boarded onto a ship to be sent far away to safety, or face death. Whilst not knowing if we would ever see our families again.
Nor do we understand the fear and dread that must have been evoked every time a siren rang out across dark skies. Ringing out a warning, take cover or face been blown away. The smell of the gas mask, the suffocation, the lack of air, sat down below the underground or manmade shelters in the garden or under the house. In pure darkness, the only sound was the stale breath entering and leaving the gas mask. The silence interrupted by the noise of war outside.
Bombed houses and building became heaps of rubble, dust and dirt in surrounding neighbourhoods, where the children use to play. Suddenly, the only game that was played was to hide away in tunnels, terrified of the sharp whistling sounds of bombs falling inches away.
We could not beginning to know what it was like to feel constant starvation, thrown into concentration camps, where the only method of survival was to bravely tolerate humiliation beyond human conception.
No, we could even conceive the experience of the WAR!
Post-WAR was equally as difficult, a country blown to shreds, no home to return to, no supermarkets to buy food, no shops to buy new clothes. No electric, gas or running water in many houses, no fridge to open when hungry called. Nothing but HOPE!
Families would need to make sacrifices to ensure children where fed and warm.
Men returning, broken, body part missing, deaf or blind, more distressingly, holding those memories of the inhuman acts they needed to conduct to save not only themselves, but their families back home.
I am so humbled by the bravely and courage of my forefathers and foremothers and the journey they had to survive. I am amazed at their resilience, strength, courage, bravery, humanity and love for one another, as a result of the shared experience, an experience that can only be described as HELL ON EARTH…
What saddens me most is that we have not learnt from their experiences and shared stories, even though they horrify us and seem almost unbelievable, can mankind really be so cruel? I am sadden at the waste of human life, as from where I am sitting, the world is still at WAR…..
LEAST WE FORGET.