Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer


It’s that day again. In other years I have posted about the men I knew who were in the world wars and rejected the war-time ethos – the fighter pilot in World War 1 who took his payload of bombs and dropped them on a quiet field somewhere, because, he said, ‘You can’t go round dropping things like that on people‘, or the Lovat Scout in World War 2 who sent back his medals saying he was coming home to make pacifists out his four sons.

This year its different. I really wonder what we are remembering, and why, and how it makes us feel. Why are we reviving that war-time retro chic? Why do so many political posters echo periods of the past where we felt the need to demonise and fear each other? I don’t think this country feels like one where the nobility of the past is being respected. I think we are looking for an excuse to be angry.

So this year I want to link to a post from 2011, from a different time of year, from a different kind of respect for heroism. I am hanging on to these memories, I can tell you.

Of Gods and Men

Come eleven o’clock, I’m thinking of this sacrifice. And the friends this post made back when I first posted it, including a young Islamic Algerian. If I’m going to keep faith with the past, it’s with the men who pleaded for their grieving families not to blame a people, a faith, for what was going to happen to them, who could imagine meeting their murderers in Heaven and becoming reconciled, who did not need to feel they were the good guys.






2 responses to “Remembering”

  1. Maureen Avatar

    If you do not wish to look far back at least try to remember the more recent sacrifices made by British, European and American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who died during a United Nations mission trying to help release the locals from terrorism by their own people.
    I will be remembering
    1) My cousin’s son blown up in Helmand Province….he wasn’t even regular Army.
    2)A friend of our son who was shot in Afghanistan in 2003…….before most people even knew that we had troops in that country trying to free the locals from drug baron supported terrorism ( again against their OWN people).
    3) A young lad we knew well who was shot while on convoy duty escorting oil tankers full of fuel from Kuwait to Basra so the local people could have generators going in their hospitals and fuel for their own power stations.( A job our son had been doing only months before.)
    You don’t need to look very far back. You don’t have to agree with their politics, but we have met many young soldiers who actually believe that they have made a real difference to the families in the countries of your Muslim friends…..to those who have not been fortunate enough to escape to a safe place.
    For the sake of an old friendship…….at least try to spare some time to remember them.

    1. Elizabeth Avatar

      That is also something to remember. Far be it from me to imply that those generous and courageous young men are bad people, or diminish their attempts to help people in dire situations. I’m not talking about them, however. I’m talking about people who are not actively involved who are using today for purposes of their own. It’s great to hear from you, Maureen – you might be interested in this post https://burnedthumb.com/2013/12/chrys-salt-and-sheila-templeton/. Chrys Salt has a much better discussion of your situation than mine.

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