I’ve been welling up listening to the radio presenters interview both the old soldiers and conscientious objectors who served as medics in the 2nd World War to commemorate D-Day 70 years on. Is this compassion or admiration of those who believed in freedom and the rights of others enough to bear arms on behalf of those they didn’t know?
Is it being a Mummy thinking about if my little boy signed up, underage, as some of these men were in what would be just 14 years time? I can’t imagine how it felt to wave your 5 boys off to a war as my Great Grandmother had done nor to encounter such terror that the only way of dealing with it was by refusing to talk about it as my own Grandfather. I’m a pacifist who proudly went on CND rallies in the 80s but that is through having the luxury of such choice created by these gentleman.
The joy of radio is that you can do two things at once, and this morning it was to tidy up for a Granny visit. In doing so I rediscovered a photocopy of one of those ex-soldiers, my Great Uncle’s self-published ‘Little Book of Poems’. His simple foreward, to bring to life the subject his mind dictates using comfortable language.
When, by Thomas Victor Healey
When race can embrace race and forge a bond
To banish hatred to a frontier far beyond
And with each step, from darkness into light
Together, without fear, defend the right.
When we can laugh in moments of despair,
And tip the scales when judging is not fair,
And weigh each day the losses and the gains,
Contented with whichever one remains.
When we can care for both the young and old
Encourage strays back to the social fold.
And sorrow knowing gently at your door,
Think of those whose heartaches are much more.
When we can pledge life’s gains with hidden deed
Make people think of love, instead of greed,
And pressing forward in some earthly race,
Be kind to those who cannot keep the pace.
When waste of human conflict has been solved,
And peaceful progress is at last resolved,
When we can conquer all those many things,
There’ll be peace on earth, and all the joy it brings.