Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 43

Thread: The cult of remembrance

  1. #1
    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cambridge
    Posts
    1,966
    Thanks
    75
    Thanked 677 Times in 300 Posts

    The cult of remembrance

    I nearly added this to Ihatecamping's thread from earlier but it's rather off topic so I'll start a new one.

    I am becoming increasingly irritable at what I think is best described as the "cult" of remembrance in modern times.

    Go over to 1st Facebook and take a look at the endless threads of "ooh, didn't we look smart" type stuff. The endless trite poems, the melodramatic, teary eyed stuff. It all seems to me more about being seen to take part in it than actually remembering the horror of war and the countless men and women, military and civilian, who have been killed by the folly of other human beings.

    Fact is we didn't go to our local parade. We were on camp. We did our own thing. The scouts weren't in uniform. They were in muddy walking boots and stank of campfire smoke. No mind numbing endless debate about coats on or off. We were outdoors, a cold north westerly wind wipped in. Coats definitely on. One of the PLs had done some research on one of the scouts from our group who was killed in the second world war. He was a radio operator on a lancaster bomber that ditched in the north sea off skegness in March 1945 following multiple engine failure. He probably drowned or died of hypothermia. In the dark. Probably trapped in a confined metal space filling with water. He was 20 years old. His body was never found. The scouts found that pretty shocking. Good. They were meant to.

    Another PL laid a wreath by the flag pole. We had a minute's silence. Then we went crate stacking.

    Remembrance, IMHO, is not, or should not, be about one upmanship about how clean your cub's shoes were, or how quiet your explorers were or how many beavers turned up. As scouts part of our ethos is service to others. I do wonder if more adults should spend more time helping their scouts understand the horror of war and equally helping them becoming caring, compassionate individuals who will grow up to try and find peaceful solutions to the world's problems.

    And it is not confined to scouting or even social media. There seems to be constant one upmanship everywhere to be seen to be making the biggest symbolic gesture around remembrance sunday. Best example I saw was a photo of a bus that had "lest we forget" on the front instead of its destination. I bet that was helpful for the 90 year old veteran who needed to take it home from whatever parade he went to. And who was it for? What was the point? A bus is a lump of metal. It doesn't remember. It has no memory or brain or soul. It's just another example of being seen to do something rather than actually doing something.

    And every year it seems to get worse. Every year people are trying to out do each other.

    Don't get me wrong. There is a place for formal occasions that bring people together as a community for things like remembrance Sunday. But let's not make the mistake of thinking that the symbolism is an end in itself. I'd like my scouts to grow up in a world where by the time they are 90 remembrance Sunday is no longer needed as there won't be any veterans. It won't happen because people are stupid and there will always be another war round the corner. But maybe there would be the chance for it if more people spent time remembering rather than cleaning their shoes, debating coat wearing or putting trite messages on the front of buses.

  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to CambridgeSkip For This Useful Post:

    ASLChris (13-11-2017),itchen (13-11-2017),Jack.Denvir (14-11-2017),KingstonCubber (13-11-2017),oneiros (13-11-2017)

  3. #2
    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    11,720
    Thanks
    1,523
    Thanked 2,913 Times in 1,217 Posts

  4. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to big chris For This Useful Post:

    CambridgeSkip (13-11-2017),pa_broon74 (13-11-2017)

  5. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    2,785
    Thanks
    966
    Thanked 755 Times in 546 Posts
    Yup.

    Agreed, and its why I don't wear any of the poppies available (white or red etc), its turned into a bit of a bandwagon - which is a real shame.

    There have been some really interesting essays in the press about it and how maybe after a certain amount of time has passed, it should be gently put to bed. (Not positive about that myself, but something needs to be done to get people and organisations to wind their respective necks in.)

    What the OP did seems about right.

    (A couple of years ago, we organised a camp for Explorers over Armistice Weekend, at the time no one said anything - before or shortly after. But it turns out it was certainly 'noted' by some...)

  6. #4
    Scout Leader TheBigDog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    England
    Posts
    63
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked 19 Times in 9 Posts
    I quite agree with this thread but it seems to be happening with everything else in scouting too. It seems no longer can you just go on camp and have a good time. It seems your failing if you aren't doing a million and one things all the time, or you have to go abroad every year and do bigger and better, or bear grylls has to fly in every night and whip your scouts into a frenzy throw them over a cliff and kill a hippo. I live in rural part of Wales and families here have little or no money. We do our scouting and our numbers have doubled from 12 o 26 in a year. We went to parade, I had a full turn out, no photos, not everyone came in proper uniform but they came and they paid their respects, then back home. i would like to do all of the above but we have to make do, but I have 26 scouts who have a fantastic time.

  7. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to TheBigDog For This Useful Post:

    itchen (13-11-2017),Richard paintin (13-11-2017)

  8. #5
    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Bath and Bristol
    Posts
    8,437
    Thanks
    535
    Thanked 2,054 Times in 1,328 Posts
    As a GSL who is today feeling proud of the attendance of their group at remembrance parade...

    Yes I am proud that so many of our YP (over 60%) turned up
    Yes I am proud that they looked smart, paraded neatly, and reflected well upon the group
    But more importantly, I am proud that we as a group played our part in the community as a whole in remembering. The important bit is that we were there, we reflected (perhaps a more appropriate term these days than "remembered") and the former service personnel who were present were grateful that we did.

    I guess in a place like Weston - which is very much a "village" despite its suburb status, the act of coming together as a community is what matters.

    During our section meetings this week, Each Beaver and Cub made a poppy which were then added to a wall display. It is not the wall display that matters (although the BSl's wife did a very good job of it) but the fact that the YP spent time doing something that was related to remembrance. They spent time making a poppy, and hopefully understood why. (Especially as, just before making it, they had a talk from the same BSL's mum, who was an evacuee during the war)
    Dan Spencer

    Group Scout Leader 66th Bath
    Deputy District Commissioner (Programme) - City of Bath District
    Nights Away Adviser and member of District Executive Committee - City of Bath District
    Member of Avon County Appointments Advisory Committee
    Event organiser "Be Prepared" Resilience Events
    Formerly CSL, SL, ASL and Jamboree Communications Lead

    Web designer


    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

  9. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to recneps For This Useful Post:

    merryweather (14-11-2017),roger-uk (13-11-2017)

  10. #6
    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    5,860
    Thanks
    1,266
    Thanked 1,642 Times in 955 Posts
    What I find amusing* is the berating of people who aren't wearing a poppy, are in the media and aren't wearing a poppy by whatever date, don't stop for two minutes silence, whatever. So we fought for freedom but everyone has to do this thing? Hmmm.

    It kind of bugs me when we do a two minutes silence at work, I mean, I go hours without talking to anyone as it is.

    On armistice day itself I happened to be in an art exhibition about using illustration for documentary purposes, and I was looking at an art piece about naval losses in the second world war. I went to take a picture and it noticed it was 11am. "Oh yes, well there's a coincidental thing", the gallery was silent anyway, so by sheer dumb luck there I was at an apposite time and place.

    * maybe ironic would be another better word, as sometimes this berating is nowt sort of bullying.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - World Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2017 - May 2018
    http://www.jambowlree.org

  11. #7
    Senior Member Ihatecamping's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    1,209
    Thanks
    260
    Thanked 285 Times in 192 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    That was a real 'through the looking glass' moment.
    The long march through the institutions is nearly complete.

  12. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    2,785
    Thanks
    966
    Thanked 755 Times in 546 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Ihatecamping View Post
    That was a real 'through the looking glass' moment.
    Good grief.

    You're not wrong there. I thought the 'poppy pizzas' in Sainsbury's were bad...

  13. #9
    ASL Kev's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Hwicce
    Posts
    3,418
    Thanks
    319
    Thanked 650 Times in 473 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    What I find amusing* is the berating of people who aren't wearing a poppy, are in the media and aren't wearing a poppy by whatever date, don't stop for two minutes silence, whatever. So we fought for freedom but everyone has to do this thing? Hmmm.
    That's about how I feel except I would swap amusing for annoying at *.

    I suspect that as so much remembrance talk revolves around WWI and the poppy is seen as a symbol from WWI that young people just don't identify with it. I found out that in WWI at a scout group near us both the scout leader and assistant scout leader had been killed in Belgium. At our meeting I explained this to the scouts then pointed to the other ASL and said to the scouts, "so that for you is as if we had both gone off to war and neither of us had come back, can you imagine what that would do to the troop?" Our YL told me afterwards that a few of them looked close to tears. As per CambridgeSkip I'm pleased I made the point.

  14. #10
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    14,848
    Thanks
    299
    Thanked 2,438 Times in 1,325 Posts
    A couple of times our remembrance week session has brought young people to tears. I felt bad at the time, but no more.

    When we visit the war graves, someone always tells us that they are uncomfortable with being there. Tough titty, it is part of the trip.

    The ossary at verdun is a bit of a shocker, as is the concentration camop at Le Struthof - but I have never had a parent say, don't take my kid there.

    They need to realise and understand, just as we did when we were kids.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

  15. The Following User Says Thank You to Bushfella For This Useful Post:

    itchen (13-11-2017)

  16. #11
    Veteran lurker
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    South
    Posts
    95
    Thanks
    651
    Thanked 48 Times in 28 Posts
    Thank you for this thread. It is making me feel much less guilty about some of my frustrated thoughts yesterday about how there must be far better ways of helping the Beavers to understand the significance of the day, without having to stand in a draughty town square unable to see or hear any of the service.

  17. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    59
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 42 Times in 23 Posts
    It's an odd thing. I look at the ad "wear your poppy with pride" above the ad for Gordon's on sale and something is lost. To paraphrase an old saying, you can tell people what to think but they might not. You can convey information but not wisdom.

    I never cared too much about WWI in school and we never talked about WWII. Given that Vietnam had just ended we didn't talk about that either. But what hit me like a ton of bricks was walking through the US cemetery above Omaha Beach and looking at the grave stones when I was about 16. I did the math and realized that quite a number of these souls were lost at an age just a few years older than I was. No pictures or history books or ribbons or parades or speeches or movies could have done what that walk did for me. All of a sudden all the other numbers meant something, not to mention all my relatives I never met.

    Thumbs up to those that try and convey what happened with a simple things like discussions. Something tells me that's what the original point of the poppies was. I don't think anyone should feel guilty about it. You do your best and move on.

  18. #13
    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    'auchtermuchty'
    Posts
    7,438
    Thanks
    363
    Thanked 1,577 Times in 990 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by CambridgeSkip View Post
    I am becoming increasingly irritable at what I think is best described as the "cult" of remembrance in modern times.
    there is no cult.

    Go over to 1st Facebook and take a look at the endless threads of "ooh, didn't we look smart" type stuff. The endless trite poems, the melodramatic, teary eyed stuff. It all seems to me more about being seen to take part in it than actually remembering the horror of war and the countless men and women, military and civilian, who have been killed by the folly of other human beings.
    people choose to express their emotions, feelings and remembrance in many different ways. that is their choice and i offer no criticism.

    As scouts part of our ethos is service to others. I do wonder if more adults should spend more time helping their scouts understand the horror of war and equally helping them becoming caring, compassionate individuals who will grow up to try and find peaceful solutions to the world's problems.
    a lot of adults already do this.

    Don't get me wrong. There is a place for formal occasions that bring people together as a community for things like remembrance Sunday. But let's not make the mistake of thinking that the symbolism is an end in itself.
    i don't think anyone does think that way.

    I'd like my scouts to grow up in a world where by the time they are 90 remembrance Sunday is no longer needed as there won't be any veterans.
    we will always need to remember.

    It won't happen because people are stupid and there will always be another war round the corner. But maybe there would be the chance for it if more people spent time remembering rather than cleaning their shoes, debating coat wearing or putting trite messages on the front of buses.
    i leave people to remember in their own ways and do not criticise them for doing so.

    TM
    going...going...

  19. #14
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    14,848
    Thanks
    299
    Thanked 2,438 Times in 1,325 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by CambridgeSkip View Post
    There is a place for formal occasions that bring people together as a community for things like remembrance Sunday. But let's not make the mistake of thinking that the symbolism is an end in itself. I'd like my scouts to grow up in a world where by the time they are 90 remembrance Sunday is no longer needed as there won't be any veterans. It won't happen because people are stupid and there will always be another war round the corner. But maybe there would be the chance for it if more people spent time remembering rather than cleaning their shoes, debating coat wearing or putting trite messages on the front of buses.
    Merryweather's comment brought this paragraph to my attention in more detail than I had noted before.

    The last sentence is kind of revealing in a way. Maybe it is an age thing. Maybe it was the way that I was brought up. I don't now. In daily life we have all become much more relaxed about our appearance. We don't, by and large pay much attention to being "smart" in the traditional meaning. That is to say pressed trousers, smart jacket, polished shoes, clean pressed shirt and tie, matching cosks, neat hair etc.. So, is it wrong to ask that we pay respect to those who served and those who suffered by taking the time to polish our shoes, dress properly, and look smart, not to impress other people ( I am getting ever so slightly hacked off by the annual November Urinating Cometition that some people indulge in - see photographs on FB) but rather to mark our own respect to those not here to pay their respect.

    I am pretty sure that most of the people who died in Flanders and on the Somme or Gallipoli or the Falklands, or Jutland or anywhere else couldn't give a damn about how we dressed, but I think that they would appreciate the respect shown by taking a little time to polish shoes, iron shirts etc..

    Now I'm fired up... I'm also getting pretty ticked off with the people who are politicising remembrance, those who say that we are glorifying war - not at any remembrance event I have attended. Let's just forget about the politics and remember the devastation of war and live in the hope that we never see the likes again and that the warmongers and fanatics around the world see sense and step away from violence some day.

    When we visited Bastogne Barracks, our guide was a serving soldier in the Belgian Army. When he had finished taking us tround the barracks and the museum I offered him a few Euros but he steadfastly refused to accept. It was his job - he did not wish anything extra for doing his job. I offered to make a donation to their veterans' fund. He smiled. "Ah, You British! Here in Belgium, our government looks after its veterans. We do not rely on charity." It is also fair to say that the Belgians are never far from a point of remembrance.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

  20. #15
    Keith at 2M Keith at 2M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    817
    Thanks
    37
    Thanked 75 Times in 51 Posts
    Our War Memorial has bullet holes down one side where a German plane fired on residents whilst on its way to bomb the railway station at the end of the High Street - not once has this fact been mentioned to the young people standing around remembering the horrors of war - I find this a wasted opportunity. Wars weren't actually just fought in far off battlefields.

    As for being respectful & looking smart? My Great Uncle died at Dunkirk. He's buried in the church yard where he was gunned down by the german planes that just did sweeps of our soldiers. I've tried imagining what must have gone through his mind as he sat there fatally injured, cowering against the gravestones. My grandparents always described him as a bit of a joker. He was a farm labourer who didn't have to sign up but did. It was his choice and it got him killed. We have a choice whether we remember all of those who paid the ultimate price. I impress on our cubs they are lucky to have that choice and why. For just 30 minutes on Sunday, a usually unruly rabble were quiet and respectful - I think they knew why they were there and there wasn't a giant poppy, poppy shaped doughnut or lest we forget tattoo in sight. I was very proud of them.
    Last edited by Keith at 2M; 14-11-2017 at 09:13 AM.
    The Roman Empire did not become great by holding meetings. It did so by killing everyone that opposed their point of view.

  21. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Keith at 2M For This Useful Post:

    Bushfella (14-11-2017),deekjcornwell (14-11-2017),Epona (14-11-2017),roger-uk (16-11-2017)

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Remembrance
    By Bushfella in forum The Lounge
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-11-2016, 10:22 AM
  2. Remembrance
    By michaelhope in forum Scouting Talk
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 11-11-2014, 08:40 AM
  3. Remembrance Activities
    By silverhairedbeaver in forum Beaver Scouts
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 11-11-2011, 11:16 AM
  4. remembrance day
    By Monkey Scout in forum Scouts
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 19-11-2010, 09:54 PM
  5. Remembrance
    By weefatbob in forum Programme Ideas & Resources
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 13-11-2006, 02:47 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •