Today, an older gentleman, retired from the military, complained about youth climbing and singing on a war memorial. He was offended, because the kids showed so little respect for the fallen. I kept my mouth shut.
But I felt like doing a rough psychoanalysis. How dare he speak on behalf of the fallen? Many soldiers in the first World War were bitterly disappointed about the purpose of that fight. Even soldiers in WWII, whilst happy to beat the monster of Hitler Germany, were not overly enthusiastic about the fighting itself. Would any of those ‘ heroes’ claim a memorial, and then stifle the life around it?
If there is any motivation to join the army, then it is to defend family and country, and life and freedom. Only few fight for death, most fight for life – and a better life. How then to better celebrate the ultimate sacrifice than by laughter and singing, and defying the powers that decide on war and peace?
Did this older gentleman ever see action? Or did he just get on his high horse to associate with fallen heroes and fill up his meagre life with condescension on youth? Perhaps that is the reason I felt angry.
When a statue or memorial is vandalised, there are people offended. We gather around the dead stone, shout our outrage at ‘them’, and forget there are more important battles to be fought.