I don’t remember doing any work on World War I at school when I was young. I think we did some on the Second World War I might be wrong. I certainly think that it is important that we teach not just young people about war but also everyone who is living today. A respect for the past and its atrocities is needed for a better future.
The Battle of the Somme started on the morning of July 1st exactly a hundred years ago today. It has been said that it was one of the bloodiest battles in the history of World War I. It is estimated that there were least 60 thousand casualties by the end of the first day and around 20 thousand of those men lost their lives.
The horrors of the war are just unimaginable. People thought that it would be over by Christmas but seeing the wounded come and with horrific injuries, it must have been a sharp realisation to those in the front that it was going to take more effort and sacrifice than first thought.
Some of the men were teenagers. A word that wasn’t used a hundred years ago once you got to the age at which you could work which was around fourteen you were considered an adult and joined others at work each day. Young men who signed up for the army before conscription was brought in were trained and sent to the trenches. Many never to return home to their loved ones.
I think it’s more poignant to remember their sacrifice of their own lives for the freedom we have today. Those who have greed and hatred in their hearts aren’t welcome. Commemorating their loss is something that we all should do and take time out of our arguments and squabbles, however trivial some of them seem to be, to realise the events of 1916.