It is Remembrance Day.
Many poppies have been visible in many lapels for weeks. There has been television coverage aplenty in advance of The Day. News bulletins have been fronted by be-poppied anchors.
Today there has been news coverage showing many sober-suited, sombre-faced politicians standing near various war memorials.
It’s all shit.
I don’t need a special day to remember those who served and got away with it, or those who served and didn’t.
I don’t need a coloured piece of cardboard in my lapel to show that I care. This sycophantic ‘my expression of grief is better than yours’ is such complete and utter hypocrisy.
What we need, to add real value to those who serve – those who put their lives on the line for a salary that is derisory (did you know that members of the Armed Forces are on duty 24/7? So their salary isn’t for the cosy 40-hour week that most civilians turn in), for accommodation that is all too often substandard to the point that the laws of this country would not allow the government to house asylum seekers in it, but it’s good enough for the people who are expected to deal with the outcomes of political ineptitude…
What we need, as I was saying, to add real value to those who serve is for every single member of parliament to serve a minimum term of four years front line in either a Navy Blue, an Air Force Blue or an Army Green or Black. I use the words ‘front line’ because doing four year at Catterick counting forks doesn’t count, neither does doing four years at RAF Innsworth filling in HR forms.
Only when the politicians are forced to live with the sharp end of their decisions, will the ‘remembering’ become a thing of value – not a media event to be picked up once a year and rapidly discarded for eleven months, starting tomorrow.
I remember the lucky ones several times a week. Trevor and I, we were lucky.
Phil Courier and I, we were lucky (but no photo exists of the two of us in the same place at the same time – which led some on our Squadron to hypothesise that he and I were really the same person!).
And I was lucky. Sadly my colleague Graham Baker (seen below with me) wasn’t. When I zigged, he zagged. I received minor injuries and a load of concussion. He flew back in to Brize in a flag-drapped coffin with a blue beret on top.
I really don’t need a day to remember these three – or any of the other people I served with.