Remembrance sunday

Remembrance Day protests through the ages

It’s not the first time that protesters have intruded on Remembrance Day. But this time feels different. In the 20s, the protests were against the poverty and inequality of the era. On Armistice Day in 1922, 25,000 unemployed ex-servicemen marched past the Cenotaph, wearing their medals next to tickets from pawn shops to indicate their plight. The year before, in Liverpool, 200 men interrupted the two minutes’ silence with shouts of ‘Anybody want to buy a medal?’ and ‘What we want is food, not prayers!’ In the 70s and 80s, more disturbingly, it was the far right who occupied the headlines. The National Front made its Remembrance Sunday march into

The tragedy of this year’s Remembrance Sunday

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them. This Remembrance Sunday will be like no other, but one thing will stay constant: these lines, by Laurence Binyon, will be recited with great solemnity at war memorials, in churches and online across the country. There is something timeless about these words, and deliberately so. They echo the style and manner which the English language had used, since the Renaissance, to talk about and with the Almighty. ‘They are words’, said Roger Scruton, ‘with

My great-grandfather, the World War I hero

I am not a patriotic person. I felt joy at London 2012 and like it when our sports teams and players win things; so much of Britain’s history is rich, eclectic, and impressive. But given the fact I barely have a drop of British blood in me, I don’t feel a huge amount of pride in our nation, just for the sake of it. The mindless patriotism of Americans puzzles me to the point of annoyance. Which is why I don’t bat an eyelid when people decide not to wear a poppy on Remembrance Day. Often, they have very personal, strongly held reasons for abstaining. Nobody should feel forced into