I was in London the day before this past Remembrance Day with my 80-year-old Father and we paused in Westminster Abbey before the "Battle of Britain Window." My Father said but one thing "I Remember." No tears, no elaboration; none was needed.
My Father was involved in World War II, long before I was born. All I understood of World War II was that my Father woke in the middle of the night with horrific nightmares until nineteen-seventy. His soul entered hell every night for twenty-five years, and is still not at rest. Glory, God, Right, Wrong are never the words he uses to describe what little he relates of his war experience.
We visit the British Museum. We see endless images of endless war and endless suffering carved in stone by the Human Genome. He asks what I think. A Father's sincerest hope is that his goodness also grows in his son, so I reassure him: "If war solved all of our problems, then there would have been only one in all of human history."
He smiles and buys a red poppy. For a moment his soul rests. He knows that I remember, too.
Should I live another millennium and visit the British Museum, would I see endless images, carved in stone, of Iraqi children turned to "pink mist" by smart bombs? Glancing at the images, would I even detect civilization attempting to break an endless chain of barbarians uninterrupted since the ice age?
In a thousand years, when I visit Westminster Abbey and stand before the "Battle of Britain Window" what should I remember?
This week, the British People have a unique chance to raise their voices in the Next Battle of Britain the breaking of the barbaric chain. Something to remember. Please, for more than posterity's sake, repeat the valiant efforts of your progenitors to repel another evil that threatens your shores. It's the beginning. In the words of your countryman, Tony Benn "the world peace movement (is) a superpower… as more and more people across the globe have come to a common understanding as to the dangers posed by American imperialism and are resolved to defeat it."
November 21, 2003