THE nation will fall silent next Sunday to honour the lives of our service personnel lost in war.
Yet last week reality TV stars made comments suggesting some might be forgetting the sacrifice. The Circle’s Freddie Bentley said World War Two should not be taught in schools as it is “too intense” and would upset kids. And The Apprentice candidates struggled to put dates to WW2.
Here, a historian tells why it is vital to remember both world wars, a veteran stresses why D-Day must not be forgotten and we have tips on how to tell kids about Remembrance Sunday.
I’M afraid the alarming comments made this week about the Second World War epitomise the selfish nature of the future generation. We are breeding a population only interested in themselves — and that is exactly why World War Two should be taught in schools.
If you don’t know your modern history, how can you develop as a person? It is part of who you are, the good and the bad — humanity has to learn from its mistakes. Where is the respect for the people that fought and died? The Spitfire pilots in World War Two were younger than Freddie is now.
He should consider that while he sits there making a living by talking to a camera about himself. Presumably he has relatives down his family line who endured the home front. To say you don’t have to remember it is shocking.
The people who fought matter. Aside from the opportunity to pay our respects to generations who gave their lives in conflict, Remembrance Sunday represents 101 years of our history as a nation. It began as a raucous celebration for ex-servicemen to remember their comrades. As those that fought began to pass away, it became an opportunity to pay them their dues.
To ignore either war, or the history that stems from them, is supremely ignorant and disrespectful. World War Two is still in living memory. On D-Day this year I went to a beach with a 94-year-old American who had been captured. When he put his feet on the sand he cried remembering comrades who didn’t come back.
History is not easy. Yes, it is intense, that’s why you learn it. No aspect of modern society can claim the wars were irrelevant to them. They were multicultural, multinational, and all-encompassing, at home or abroad.
I don’t see how any study of history can be made without considering the two biggest events of the 20th century. When you don’t deal with it properly, the result is the ignorance seen in The Apprentice.
Help young understand
THE themes behind Remembrance Sunday, such as sacrifice and death, can be tricky to explain to curious kids. Becky Cranham, of lesson planning group PlanBee, has tips to help kids understand the two-minute silence’s meaning:
- Tell them how, more than 100 years ago, many soldiers went to fight in World War One even though they didn’t want to. They wanted to fight for what they believed was right, and many sadly died. Say this is called a sacrifice – we remember them to say thank you for what they did.
- Tell your child that on Remembrance Sunday, these are the soldiers we remember, with those from other wars like World War Two, the Falklands and Iraq.
- Remind your child it wasn’t just trained soldiers who went to war, but ordinary men – brothers, sons and fathers. The day commemorates civilians, too.
- Use arts and crafts to explain the day. Make the shape of a poppy by dipping the bottom of a plastic bottle in red paint and printing it on a piece of paper.
- Take your child to read the inscriptions on a war memorial.
- Make Anzac (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) biscuits to remind kids Remembrance Day is also commemorated outside the UK
'Sacrifices are why we have freedom'
ROYAL Navy veteran Bob Elder is saddened the sacrifices of his comrades seem to be being forgotten.
Bob, 99, from Plymouth, said: “It’s hard to believe that 75 years have passed since D-Day, but that doesn’t mean it should be forgotten.
“It’s a shame to hear some of the younger generation appear to be forgetting about the sacrifices made.”
Bob served from the first to the last day of World War Two, was sunk TWICE, was in a suicide raid at Dieppe, saw the aftermath of the A-bomb attack on Nagasaki, Japan, and witnessed the surrender.
He continued: “So many of my comrades lost their lives. This is why we have freedom in this country today and democracy.”
The veteran, awarded ten medals including the French Legion D’Honneur, added: “There are fewer of us here to tell the tale, but this part of our history should never be forgotten.”
War facts younger generation should know
- WW1 was fought from August 1914 to Nov 1918
- WW2 was fought from Sept 1939 to August 1945
- 6million Jews and 11million others killed in the Holocaust
- An estimated 50-85million people died in WW2
- 43,000 civilians died and 139,000 were hurt in The Blitz
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