In Flanders fields the poppies grow, except where vast farms there today have forced the wild flowers to the edges or driven them away.
The war poets tried to make us think of countless deaths and needless agony but novels and films despite their well meant words often exalt what’s merely seen as glory.
Men in and out of armed forces reminisced: my husband’s father – military police; my grandfather in the British merchant navy; my husband’s uncle in Hitler’s death march east.
My curate father fought fires every night after conducting funerals throughout the day. None of them recalled unusual acts of heroism or if they did, they did not say.
Three friends have brought up daughters who (sweet children in their early years) are now tank commander, weapons officer, SAS nurse. It seems that as we reaped so shall we plough.
I like to think I am a pacifist but if someone attacked my family I would fight. I know I would not turn the other cheek or go gentle into any vicious night.
And so I honour those who fought and fell. In normal years I wear my poppy with pride, but this time, faced with an unseen enemy I remain poppyless, inside.
Actually, I have bought some poppy earrings from the British Legion online shop. I have them on today and will wear them when I am ‘legally allowed out’ to go to see the optician on Friday.