The wearing of the poppy
Sir, – I choose each year to wear a poppy on November 11th to remember my grandfather, a young Irish doctor who chose to join the British Royal Army Medical Corps at the start of the second World War and who served at El Alamein and later lost his life to the torpedoes of U-515 (and to Irish neutrality, that caused the “Air Gap” in the Atlantic down which his ship sailed to her doom).
But how does this signify that I am “endorsing . . . myriad atrocities in Ireland and beyond, not least in the town from which I write, 97 per cent of which was destroyed by British bombs in November 1944,” as your correspondent Dr Gareth P Keeley writes from his home in Germany (November 25th)?
Moreover, is Dr Keeley aware that at the time his town was bombed by the British, Germany was seized by an evil that has no historical precedent; which the British as well as the rest of the civilised world (barring Ireland) was struggling to stop?
All war is tragic, but I find no logic in Dr Keeley’s thesis or complaint. By contrast to the 130,000 brave and noble Irish citizens like my grandfather who joined the struggle against tyranny, the state of Ireland’s conduct during the second World War was little short of shameful; as it remains today, facilitating as we do America’s illegal aggressive wars and torture programmes daily at Shannon airport, where as Churchill observed, Ireland is still “at war, but skulking”.
We are in no position to lecture anyone about war’s evil nor the pity of war. We would do well to remember the tragedy of it rather. – Yours, etc,
Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan.