The veterans who survived are all gone now.
Only their words and images remain as we approach next Sunday, November 11th 2018, the 100th anniversary of the ‘end’ of the War that was to end all Wars.
In 2019 we will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles. Versailles was not a peace treaty but a revenge treaty and the austerity forced upon the German people contributed significantly to the outbreak of WWII just two decades later.
This week we will remember the fallen of WWI through the words of Irish poets and soldiers etched in stone in Flanders Fields within the Island of Ireland Peace Park, Messines, Belgium. Their words recall the brutality, horror, insanity and futility of war.
On November 11th, we will recall the Peace Pledge that Irish Catholics and Protestants also etched in stone in the Peace Park, inspired by the sacrifice of those who had given their lives, some in the hope of Home Rule and others to copper fasten the Union with Britain, and who found in the face of death a common humanity and brotherhood.
The artwork we feature below and throughout the week has been gifted to the SMA Communications Office by the Anglo-Irish artist, Andrew Edwards. We are grateful to him for sharing his moving artistic reflections.
Today we begin with the words of Tom Kettle, 9th Dublin Fusiliers:
while the mad guns curse overhead,
and tired men sigh,
with mud for couch and floor,
know that we fools,
now with the foolish dead,
died not for Flag,
but for a dream born in a herdsman’s shed,
and for the sacred scripture of the poor.