This year is the 100th anniversary of the battle of the Somme. It’s also the year my father would have reached 100 years.
He was born during the First World War and signed up to fight in the Second World War – ‘a war to end all wars’ so they said, and end Hitler’s fascism, rampantly running through Europe.
He was also a Japanese prisoner of war, and after three and half years as a prisoner, he returned home weighing six stone not knowing his mother, my grandmother, had passed away two years earlier.
My father never said a bad word about the Japanese or anyone else, for that matter.
He always said the Second World War was a war not just to end Hitler’s fascism, but to give us all a better world that gave us the right of free speech, which Clement Attlee’s government tried to give the people who were lucky enough to return from the war.
Today on this anniversary we read about Mark Omerods, the first triple amputee from the Iraq occupation, having to beg, borrow and steal to get by, and all the newspapers report is who is and who is not wearing a poppy. As my father used to say to me it’s nots the wearing of the poppy, it’s what you think, do and believe.