The humbling and sobering part of any trip to Europe is the number of war graves and memorials one sees. In Great Britain, particularly, the graves are often only markers, in memory of someone’s son, husband, brother who died on some foreign battlefield in defense of Empire, or the Homeland, or some other dream.
The little churches are lovely, with faded murals depicting the stories of saints, and light filtering through old discolored glass.
And every wall testifies to the sacrifices made by the villagers and their manorial lord in ages gone – and some not so far gone. I have to quote Rupert Brooke, one of those lost sons:
If I should die, think only this of me: / That there’s some corner of a foreign field/ that is forever England
Fields in Gallipolli, fields in Verdun and the Ardennes, fields in Praetoria – was it worth it? Can we make it worth it? To quote another battle poet:
If you break faith with us who die, we shall not rest…”