One Hundred Years On

War is hell for all involved. From the raw recruit to the seasoned soldier. It starts at the training camp and continues through to the battlefield, to the trenches themselves. It also effects those left at home to worry and to grieve.

As time went by, it seemed there was no escape other than becoming an invalid, or through death. Some kept a diary, some wrote poems, memorialising the horrors of war. It was their way of trying to stay sane in an insane world.

The grim escape from the battlefield, via the field hospital and the rehabilitation centre, and finally to the street. They were the lucky ones. Few of those they left behind at the front received funerals, only death and oblivion.

Now, one hundred years on, there are no veterans left. No poets or nurses to tell of the suffering, no distraught wives, become widows. None left to tell of the suffering. Yet still we remember those who fought.

More than nine million soldiers lost their lives in this conflagration that introduced the world to war on an industrial scale. Many of the dead were never recovered, their bodies rent asunder and trampled in the mire.

This week’s newspapers are full of the armistice and the end of the Great War, their pages eulogizing a lost generation, a tragic lost generation. Yet conflict continues to pervade our world. Some lessons are never learned.

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Written in response to the Microcosms 300 word competition number 148, on the anniversary  of the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany for the cessation of hostilities of World War I. with reference to the prompt: Soldier; Battlefield; Eulogy.

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This piece won the competition as the Judge’s Pick.

Out of the many heart-wrenching war stories this week, this beautifully-written history lesson was the one that touched me the most.

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