Thursday, 22 April 2010
Remembering the fallen
I doubt there is a town on the S. Island that doesn't have some kind of War Memorial. In the Otago town of Oamaru, this is how the troops who fell in Palestine, Gallipoli, Montecasino, and the Pacific - to mention a few, are commemorated.
For some reason this year, commemorating those who died in the World Wars (and all the others in the 20th century), seems more poignant.
My mother served in WWII in the Observer Corps. My Aunt was a WAAF. My great Uncle served in Italy and N. Africa, another great Uncle fought in WWI and lived to the age of 101. The collective memory of these wars is dying out with my generation. Soon there won’t be many people who can say, “I was there”, or even “I remember my parents telling me stories of the war.” Holocaust survivors are dying out. Soon there will be no one to say “I was liberated by the Americans” or “I am the last of my family”.
I have pondered, what does that mean not just for the collective memory, but also for the collective responsibility that we have to remember.