This is the basis of an address I gave at a public meeting, hosted by the Penzance branch of the Society of Friends, at St John’s Hall, Penzance, on 11th November. It was severely cut back to fit into the five minutes allocated.
Before I start I must point out that I speak as a Humanist – not for Humanists.
And you will see I wear a red poppy out of respect for the past – a white poppy in of hope for the future.
In Australia, on the 25th April, they commemorate ANZAC day, The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps., suffered a tremendous loss of life in Gallipoli during the 1st WW. Eric Bogle, a Scotsman, who has spent most of his life in Australia, wrote a song called ‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda’. I challenge you to find it, listen to it, shed a tear, and reflect on the tragedy of war.
Tomorrow there will be a parade to the cenotaph. Men marching in uniform with all the pomp and ceremony they can muster. The atmosphere will be charged with ‘proud patriotism’. I find that inappropriate. Pride and Patriotism are two words that I have difficulty with. According to Aesop, I was brought up on Aesop, “Pride comes before a fall”. Continue reading