Glorious dead

16 Nov


I happened to be in London on the Remembrance Day. After seeing the Downing Street from behind the bar, I came face to face with the words “The Glorious Dead” carved on the Cenotaph.  The Queen was there a couple hours ago heading the silent ceremony. It looked grand with many poppies and wreaths laid around it and veterans stood nearby, but I couldn’t help wondering, “What does it refer to: the glorious dead?” Is being dead in war make it glorious? Why?

I mean, if the soldiers died of protecting their country, their deaths were glorious. But what if they were the bullies died in a war when they attacked others? What if they fought a war that they did not believe in and were there just because of duty which someone else imposed it on them? What about the dead enemies? Are they glorious too since they too died for the best interest of their country? So whoever died in war died gloriously?

What is the purpose of the monument? Was it really to honour the dead because their cause was really glorious or was it there as hypocrisy to cover up the real value of life?

In my view, despite the grand titles we have given them, perhaps most of the deads died unwillingly – unwilling to leave their loved ones and their future behind. The monument is not so much of glory, but a constant reminder of blood and tears sacrificed for the ‘relative peace’ we enjoy now and a reminder to avoid history from repeating itself. It’s not happening at this moment as we still have wars everywhere. 

    “I am not concerned with Poetry. My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity. Yet these elegies are to this generation in no sense conciliatory. They may be to the next. All a poet can do today is warn. That is why the true Poets must be truthful.”
    -Wilfred Owen [English poet and soldier who died at the front line one week before WW1 ended] on his poems  

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