Joined: 03 Jun 2005
|Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:13 am Post subject: PILLAGE, DEMOLISHED, SMASHED, MEMORIALS TO OUR WAR DEAD
|We have failed to keep faith with the men who died for us
By Peter Hitchens
Last updated at 10:09 PM on 5th November 2011
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Some actions ought to be unthinkable. Even the lowest, dimmest lout ought to know that you do not defile monuments to the dead. Till a few years ago, the worst crook in Britain would have stopped himself from ripping a bronze plaque off a war memorial.
Those who claim that this country is not falling to pieces need to explain why such crimes are now becoming common.
Something has disappeared from the hearts of the people who do this. They are different from any generation that lived before. Let me explain.
Disgrace: Bronze plaques listing the names of soldiers killed in action were stolen from Portsmouth's War Memorial
Long ago, a retired Serviceman said to me that the least anyone could do, when he saw a war memorial, was to pause and read some of the names on it. It was a tiny thing compared to what the dead had done, but it would in some way help to make their deaths worthwhile.
I have tried to follow this advice. I read the names, often seeing several members of one family listed on a small village cross and forcing myself to imagine what this must have meant.
But above all I recall that these were all the best of their generation at every level, of all classes and all political beliefs, hundreds of thousands of lost fathers who never had children, or never saw their young grow to adulthood, a great legion of lost craftsmen, lost scientists, lost engineers, lost inventors, lost teachers, lost poets, lost architects, lost statesmen, whose absence still haunts this country almost a century later.
I read the inscriptions, which now reach across to us from a time so different that it is astonishing to think that it is in fact so close. Some are reproachful or unsettling – the line ‘Live thou for England – these for England died’ goes straight to the heart of the matter.
The one that haunts me most of all is in Fleetwood in Lancashire, which states fiercely: ‘Principles do not apply themselves.’
Another writes of ‘those who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom... let those that come after see to it that their names are not forgotten’.
Many are fine works of art – the mud-encrusted soldier reading a letter from home on Platform 1 at Paddington Station is one of the great sculptures of the 20th Century. They were almost all created and paid for by people who belonged to the older tradition of art and poetry, in my view far superior to the silly chaos of what followed.
Sad sign of the times: A memorial in Manchester was also the victim of thieves
And now they are being pillaged, demolished, smashed, stripped, overturned and desecrated by people who probably cannot even read what is written on them and would not care if they could.
If that is not a fit subject for a moral panic, I do not know what is. These metal thieves are no better than grave-robbers, and we have bred and raised them among us. These sombre and thoughtful shrines are not glorifications of war, but memorials to beloved people who went to their deaths in the belief that they were saving civilisation.
It seems that they failed
They do not teach history in our schools anymore because of P.C. and the fact that that most of the pupils now are from other countries and dont even speak english.
It is time our honourable dead, who have fought and died for OUR freedom were given the respect of ALL people living in the UK.
It begs a thought, what were our leaders fathers doing in any war?
What we should do is take a leaf out of our dead heros book and stand up and fight for our land once again, kick out those who do not belong and stand proud as a BRITISH NATION not a tax cow for Europe.