Alexander Chu reflects on the First World War and its continued relevance
11th November marked Armistice Day. The United Kingdom, commonwealth countries, and British military bases in Afghanistan, as well as European nations such as France and Germany, payed their respect to the fallen service men and women who have died in conflict. This year has been especially resonant, with the 4th of August marking 100 years since Britain joined the First World War.
Most notable of displays was the installation of poppies at the Tower of London. With each poppy representing a single fallen member of the armed forces, the sea of what from far away looks like blood served as a grim reminder of the immense sacrifices of war.
To most people visiting the exhibition, the spectacle was an ingenious piece of art. For veterans and others intimately affected by war, the display served as an emotional experience, conjuring up the memories of fallen comrades, family members, and friends.
While Armistice and Remembrance Day act as national holidays, reminding us of those who have fought in conflicts across the world, not just in the First or Second World War, they also serve as a point of contrast, reminding us of the immeasurable progress humanity achieved during the latter half of the twentieth century.
The creation of the United Nations in 1945 marked our commitment to making the world a safer place for future generations. From the establishment of the ambitious Millennium Development Goals to the declaration of universal and fundamental human rights, none of this progress would have been possible without the sacrifices made to preserve the foundation upon which it was built.
While humanity continues to be imperfect, we still owe everything we’ve achieved to those who fought against tyranny, paving the way for a better future.
Featured image credit: Oliver Palethorpe