Tilly Wharf's column on Remembrance Day

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Tilly Wharf is studying - levels in English Language, History and Sociology at Abbeygate Sixth Form College in Bury St Edmunds – here she gives her very personal reflections on Remembrance Day.

‘Lest We Forget’ is a symbolic phrase that ensures that the memory and sacrifice of our heroes does not die alongside them.

In my opinion, some take ‘Lest We Forget’ as a way of only respecting those who fought for their country – for some, our heritage has taught us to limit our reflection upon all those who died in war. Why is this? Why does the hatred that crafted previous wars still partially remain in modern attitudes?

Although this isn’t a universal opinion – I think that what is a universal opinion is that we have all been affected by the outcomes of war in one way or another. 

During my personal remembrance reflections, I think about all soldiers, those who survived and those who died from all nations.

Those involved in war will have acted on the orders of their leaders. People were called to war; many may have been deceived into an ideal rather than reality. But the blame should be directed to those who started the war, not those who were asked to carry out wishes of their leaders.

Ultimately I think it’s important to realise that when the time came, every person of every country involved in war sought to return home - return home to their families and loved ones.

Recently I watched: HackSaw Ridge a film directed by Mel Gibson in 2016.

The film depicted the true events of the scene of the Battle of Okinawa in World War Two.

During that battle, an American soldier by the name of Desmond Thomas.Doss refused to handle a weapon and was classed as a coward for doing so but he strived to be a medic. He figured: ‘I’d be saving lives not taking them. 75 men were saved through his efforts of lowering them down the ridge - including a few Japanese soldiers. His character is shown to have saved opponent’s lives, which was a rare act to see within war.

The heroic actions of Doss helps demonstrate that not all people wanted violence to be the solution, nor did nationality matter to them. Saving lives is all that mattered.    

With all of that in mind, I think Remembrance Day is a chance for us all to remember those affected by war in our own way.

For me – I turned to my passion that is art to express myself.

Last year, during an art study project, I created various sketches of physical and abstract war memorials.

My physical memorials have subjects from a global field. Memorials from England to America to Bulgaria and more........

My art reproduction of George Evan’s reenactment of the events at Pearl Harbour in 1941 acts as an abstract war memorial.  Each sketch portrays a different scene and message of each country. Yet the overall message remains through each – to remember those who fought – ‘Lest We Forget’.