Thursday, 11 November 2010

Remembering ...

It's certainly a fierce weather day out there today, so when the sun peeked out briefly, I decided to chance it and go out for my daily walk. The timing was perfect because I was able to stand at our local War Memorial for the two minutes silence at 11 o'clock.

I watched as local residents placed poppies around the six-inch railings surrounding our stone cross, each with a loved one's name carefully inscribed. I couldn't help but notice that all the writing was spidery - a sign of the age of those doing the remembering - or a sign of emotion as the name was written - or both.

It's an immensely moving moment watching men in their 80s and 90s saluting fallen comrades who never came home to continue with their lives as they have done.

I found myself wondering about them then. Whenever I go to workshops or writers' circles, many writers tell me how they came to writing later on in life. Yet, those we are remembering today and on Sunday, never had that chance of a 'later on in life' moment. How many great writers have we lost in all wars, past and present, that we don't know about because they weren't given the opportunity?

At the end of the two minutes, people began drifting away and I continued on my walk. About twenty minutes later, on my way back, I saw an elderly gentleman walking towards me. I recognised him as one of those who'd saluted fallen comrades at the war memorial. As he approached, I could see he wanted to chat, so I spoke first.

"Wasn't it lovely how the sun came out whilst we were at the war memorial?"

"The sun always shines on the righteous! Mind you, I've stood there in all weathers," he said, proudly.

"It is a bit rough today."

"We need it rough, son," he continued. "Reminds us we're the ones who are alive."

And on that note, he turned and walked on.

The weather may be rough outside. Your life may not make it easy for you to be a writer. But we are alive and because of those who gave up their lives for us, we can be a writer and write what we like.

So, if you enjoy writing, try to make time to do some today. Call it a small token thank you, to those who were never given the opportunity.


  1. Very thought provoking post. Thanks. So often we assume opportunities are the same for everyone. But they're not, and never have been.

  2. Well said, Simon. (Lovely scene with you and the old man too. You could use that in a story, I'm sure). I must admit, I was deep into my writing at 11am this morning and missed it - shame on me. I'm going to have my own 2 minute silence now.

  3. A lovely post Simon, we had our two minutes at work and it's incredible how much you can think about in those two minutes. I remembered the old fallen heroes, but also thought about our troops out there now - all so brave. You are so right, it's great to write about these things especially those who never return, at least with words, part of them can be remembered forever.

  4. Very well said Simon - Thank you.

  5. Indeed, Simon. War is the most terrible human waste, and is even more tragic when it involves non-combatants as well as the professional soldier.
    And although there have been great writings and literatures coming out of war, that must not blind us to the fact that the balance sheet has to be, on the whole, a negative one.

  6. Great post Simon. I'm adding a link to my blog. I'm collecting all Rememberance Day posts..:)

  7. Those who died, so that we could enjoy the freedoms we so often take for granted,lost more than their own lives. They sacrificed future generations of their children and grandchildren.
    Remembrance Sunday always brings a lump to my throat.
    Lovely post Simon. Thank you.