This year Remembrance Sunday marked exactly 100 years since the end of the First World war which saw over seven hundred thousand British soldiers die in a pointless conflict between rival imperial powers. Veterans for Peace UK (VFPUK) marked the event by inviting several representatives of like minded groups from around the world to join their annual gathering at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. In total 11 countries were represented.
VFP UK is a democratic ex services organisation who, as a result of their experiences in the armed forces believe that war is not the solution to the problems we face in the twenty first century. As with previous years they refused to participate in the official Remembrance ceremony which is heavily criticised for being drenched in PR for both the military and the establishment. However they do assert their right to march to the cenotaph and remember their fallen comrades along with all the victims of war, both current and in the past. World War Two veteran Jim Radford sang 1916 by Motorhead which remains one of the greatest and least well known anti war songs ever written. There was also poetry and the Last Post along with the laying of a wreath of white poppies bearing the words ‘NEVER AGAIN’by a German veteran.
Meanwhile across the pond Iraq Veterans Against War (recently renamed: About Face: Veterans against the war) were blockading the National Constitution Centre in Philadelphia in protest to George W Bush being presented with Liberty Medal. They find it obscene that such a person could be honoured for his work for veterans when so many Americans died in a war started by Bush on the back of a lie. There was a stand off as they refused to move from the main entrance to the building and one veteran even managed to disrupt the ceremony itself.
#VIDEO: Protester interrupts Liberty Medal ceremony inside National @ConstitutionCtr; ceremony honors Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush for their commitment to veterans@CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/px4tWENKeA
— Chantee Lans CBS Philadelphia (@ChanteeLans) November 11, 2018
This year the corporate media went into overdrive trying to exploit Remembrance day to score political points. Papers like the Daily Mail & The Sun seemed to think that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wearing a raincoat in heavy rain was more newsworthy than the ongoing scandal of homeless veterans freezing on our streets. This is sadly nothing new. Twice before Corbyn has been smeared with lies on Remembrance day by news outlets who have no qualms about pulling the whole occasion into the gutter to please their tax avoiding proprietors.
An estimated 13,000 former service men & women are homeless and extremely rich organisations like the British Legion are coming under fire for not doing more to help them. It is against this backdrop that VFPUK continues to grow and provide a place for veterans to make their feelings known about war and its consequences.