Remembrance: many things to many men

Remembrance Day means different things to different people, as Mary Kenny’s piece highlighted recently. In the south it’s often the subject of controversy, hostility or it more often it simply passes people by without much notice. In Northern Ireland, much progress has been made in bridging the gap since the nadir of the Remembrance Day bomb in Enniskillen in 1987. Elsewhere there are ceremonies in Australia, New Zealand, the US calls it Veteran’s Day. Germany, which lost both major conflagrations, celebrated its Day of Destiny on Tuesday. Russia, which suffered highest casualities, also does not mark the date. Thanks to various readers for links.

  • queens_unionist

    Interesting that Russia do not celebrate it did not know this? Is there any particular reason or am i over looking something obvious?

  • smcgiff

    I’ve a totally different take than Mary Kenny’s, but support the ideas (those that I know about at least) behind the poppy.

    Many Irish men fought in both world wars, many of whom did so for their beliefs/cause.

    The second world war, in particular, was a just cause. They should be remembered and honoured.

    Does that complain about whose uniform they wore at the time are missing the bigger picture.

  • Mick Fealty

    Good question QU. The only explanation I have uncovered is to that it was never celebrated under the Soviet Union because Lenin pulled Russia out after the October revolution.

  • queens_unionist

    As stated before sinn fein IRA would not be in existance if not for those men and women that laid down there lives in the war.And also it is beyond a joke to think that ROI’s ‘neutrality’ woud have protected them from the spread of Nazism.

  • queens_unionist

    Surely Russia should be remembering those troops it has lost in other conflicts such as Chechnia and the like,post soviet union. cant think of other russian conflicts off hand, give me a minute while i search google!

  • smcgiff

    ‘And also it is beyond a joke to think that ROI’s ‘neutrality’ woud have protected them from the spread of Nazism.’

    It is, but who mentioned it would have been. Bear in mind I haven’t registered for The Independent(not).

  • queens_unionist

    I was stating the point that it would be beyond a joke!
    I however smcgiff have not registered for the independant so have no idea what you are one baout! 🙂

    WRT russian conflicts the russians were also involved in the Balkans conflicts werent they, correct me if im wrong i was but a nipper at that time!

  • Super Freak

    The men who died during the great war didn’t die for democracy or freedom they died for the European empires.
    When we remember them we have to remember that they died for nothing, neither side had any idealogical differences, the royal families and politicians were willing to sacrifice millions over African colonies.
    Would the world be any different if Germany had have won?

  • smcgiff

    ‘I was stating the point that it would be beyond a joke!’

    Oh, okay, can I play too?

    It is beyond a joke to think that ROI’s ‘neutrality’ would have protected them from the spread of British Imperialism.

  • smcgiff

    Super Freak,

    I can’t disagree hugely with your 11:56 comment, you’ll note I made a distinction in my post between WW1 and WW2.

    If the Great War had ended in a draw, as it were, there may have not been a WW2. Certainly, it has been pretty much accepted that the humiliation imposed on the defeated Germany was a contributing factor to the starting of WW2.

    But guessing what would have happened had Germany won WW1 is too much in the lap of the gods to extrapolate as to what our present state of affairs would be.

  • DerryTerry

    It is interesting that different countries have different approaches to this issue but there does tend to be some sort of “official” remembrance aspect to each of them. The difficulty that exists here is that there does not exist a shared “official” set of allegiances that we can all adhere to. Perhaps we need to create the space where we can remember the individuals rather than the organisations or the uniforms they wore.

  • cg

    “As stated before sinn fein IRA would not be in existance if not for those men and women that laid down there lives in the war”

    Queens Unionist

    Sorry to rain on your parade but Sinn Fein was founded in 1905 and the IRA was a continuation of the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood). To suggest that it was because of the war that physical force republicanism came into being is nonsense. There has always been resistance to foreign rule in Ireland.

    On the matter of the First World War my own great grandfather and his brother fought in the war because the believed it would achieve home rule .This was foolish and if it wasn’t for Redmond many Irish men would not have had to die in a pointless war to which Ireland should not have been involved in. Both men came back and Fought in the war of independence and then the civil war but both said they didn’t go and fight for Britain but foolishly for Ireland. That is the major problem with the poppy it’s not just for the two world wars but for every British soldier and that is the difficulty most people have with the poppy. If there was a new symbol to remember the Irish participation or every countries contribution I would have no problem supporting it.

    As a matter of interest what do you study at queens I hope its not history or Politics.

  • Davros

    On the matter of the First World War my own great grandfather and his brother fought in the war because the believed it would achieve home rule .

    And it probably would have if it hadn’t been for Pearse and co’s self-indulgent actions Easter 1916.

  • Davros

    Sorry to rain on your parade but Sinn Fein was founded in 1905 and the IRA was a continuation of the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood). To suggest that it was because of the war that physical force republicanism came into being is nonsense. There has always been resistance to foreign rule in Ireland.

    QU is more likely to have been pointing out that if and when Hitler had won WWII he would not have tolerated either SF or the IRA. They would have been destroyed.

  • cg

    Davros
    can queens unionist not answer his own questions

  • smcgiff

    ‘if and when Hitler had won WWII he would not have tolerated either SF or the IRA.’

    And the British did?

  • cg

    Davros please tell me you’re joking.

    Home rule had been promised all the way back to Gladstone and hadn’t been delivered. That was the 3rd bill and the veto of the House of Lords was gone. If the government had really wanted to grant home rule they would have. What would have made it even less likely was the fact that the unionist were in the war time coalition.

    The rising in 1916 was to awaken the passion of the nation and it achieved that.

    Stop trying to be selective with facts

  • queens_unionist

    “QU is more likely to have been pointing out that if and when Hitler had won WWII he would not have tolerated either SF or the IRA. They would have been destroyed.”

    exactly sorry for my unclear point but as i hoped some people were able to interpret it.

    “Davros
    can queens unionist not answer his own questions”

    well, NO at that time i couldnt do you expect me to somehow magically read what has been posted and then type a reply when i am neither logged into slugger and then when i was on lunch not even at the PC?
    Some of us have work to do! 🙂

  • smcgiff

    ‘Some of us have work to do! :)’

    PAH! Amateur! 😉

  • Davros

    Cg- if you want to play games 🙂

    can queens unionist not answer his own questions

    The only question you asked of QU was a silly snide dig at his studies , and I didn’t attempt to answer it 🙂

  • Davros

    Put it this way SG- what military action did the British take inside the ROI vs SF or the IRA and how do you think it compared with how The Nazis treated
    opposition within their expanded Reich ?

  • cg

    queens unionist

    sorry if your busy.I merly wished for you to give your interpation of the claim you made. I did’nt want it then and there.

    I was under the impression that we could all speak for ourselves.

    My mistake

  • Davros

    Davros please tell me you’re joking.

    Home rule had been promised all the way back to Gladstone and hadn’t been delivered. That was the 3rd bill and the veto of the House of Lords was gone. If the government had really wanted to grant home rule they would have. What would have made it even less likely was the fact that the unionist were in the war time coalition.

    I’m absolutely 100% serious. Home rule was coming and but for the self-indulgent behaviour of a tiny minority It would , IMO, have become reality.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Put it this way SG- what military action did the British take inside the ROI vs SF or the IRA and how do you think it compared with how The Nazis treated
    opposition within their expanded Reich ?’

    SG – Me?

    Dublin and Monaghan bombings?

    But if we go down that road, it is unlikely that there’d even be a Northern Ireland!

  • smcgiff

    ‘Home rule was coming and but for the self-indulgent behaviour of a tiny minority It would , IMO, have become reality.’

    Home rule for the 26 counties perhaps.

  • Mick Fealty

    Picking up on QU’s earlier suggestion that Russia should take up Armistice Day (how’d the Googling go btw?). As I mentioned, Russia pulled out of the first war well before the 11/11/18. Contrast that with Poland, which only gained its independent two days before that on 9/11/18, and where Armistice Day is apparently viewed as an important and emotional day.

  • cg

    Davros that is incorrect

    I was attempting to see if he could give evidence for his claim.

    “As stated before Sinn Fein IRA would not be in existence if not for those men and women that laid down there lives in the war”

    He couldn’t and you couldn’t

    “Put it this way SG- what military action did the British take inside the ROI vs. SF or the IRA and how do you think it compared with how The Nazis treated
    Opposition within their expanded Reich?”

    I am making no attempt to answer sg’s question but we do have Bloody Sunday when the British forces stormed Croke Park and shot indiscriminately into the crowd killing innocent civilians. We also had an orchestrated campaign by the Black and tans. Killing innocent civilians. In my own local grave yard there are two graves belonging to young boys who were run over by the tans when they were drunk. They stopped the vehicle and laughed shouting “two more dead”.

    Stop being obtuse davros

  • Davros

    Sg- even if we accept that There was official British involvement in the D/M bombings, compared to what the Nazis did to opposition in places like Poland ….

  • George

    “I’m absolutely 100% serious. Home rule was coming and but for the self-indulgent behaviour of a tiny minority It would , IMO, have become reality.”

    Too little too late, Davros. It was only on the table because it was obvious the whole country was being lost.

    I assume you are referring to northern Protestants when you mention “the self-indulgent behaviour of a tiny minority” preventing it happening.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Mick,
    I would put the ceasefires down as more important catalysts to bridging the gap than the Enniskillen bomb of 1987.
    The appearance of Tom Hartley at Islandbridge to commemorate those Irishmen who died in war came post ceasefire and the gestures of Alex Maskey and others have helped cement that basic understanding.

  • nuzhound
  • Davros

    Oh dear, The Black and Tans …another sacred Cow.
    Do you know if the Black and Tans involved were British ? Quite a few were Irish Catholics 🙂

  • davidbrew

    ‘if and when Hitler had won WWII he would not have tolerated either SF or the IRA.’

    what-he wouldn’t have stuck by his valued allies? Time to read up on the history of the IRA methinks.

  • nuzhound

    In the US, today is a day for all Veterans. On Memorial Day (May 30 – date of first official observance in 1868) we commemorate all those who died while serving in the uniform of the United States (& technically, the CSA too). Nowadays, Memorial Day is generally the last Monday in May.

    It is also the day when poppies are worn in honor of those who have fallen.

  • Davros

    Too little too late, Davros. It was only on the table because it was obvious the whole country was being lost.

    we may be talking at cross purposes here George. I’m talking about the fact that The Home Rule Bill got through and would have been enacted but for the outbreak of WWI. At that time, 1914, there’s no way one could say the whole country was lost as those wanting Total Independence were a small minority.

  • cg

    Well Davros I know so.

    There was an ivestigation carried out a few years ago and a pamphlet done.

    seeing as the paticular group of tans tortured the area for year’s it would hardly seem relevant if they were catholic or not they were a brit force. religion would be irrelevant

  • Mick Fealty

    Well spotted Pat – I meant to insert something like, ‘since the nadir of’… Fancy a job as sub editor?

  • Davros

    oh dear cg – I wrote “Irish Catholic”, not just Catholic 🙂

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “if and when Hitler had won WWII he would not have tolerated either SF or the IRA.”

    If Hitler had have won the IRA only had to take refuge in the shipyard or other overspilling factories and hid among the tens of thousands of others who passed themselves off as essential workers. So much more comfortable than that nasty old battlefield.

  • Davros

    Tom Hartley and Alex Maskey did a lot of good for their party in my community. Did Tom Hartley face the same criticism within SF as Alex Maskey ?

  • Davros

    the IRA only had to take refuge in the shipyard or other overspilling factories

    That wouldn’t have moved their eyes further apart Pat 😉

  • willowfield

    If Hitler had have won the IRA only had to take refuge in the shipyard or other overspilling factories and hid among the tens of thousands of others who passed themselves off as essential workers. So much more comfortable than that nasty old battlefield.

    What on earth does this mean? Does it even make grammatical sense?

  • George

    Maybe Pat is pointing out that there was a pretty slack turnout from the loyal Protestants of Ulster when it actually came to volunteering to fight Hitler.

    They were well outnumbered by the Irish for a start.

  • George

    Queen’s Unionist,
    the Russians remember the Great Patriotic War (World War II) on May 8, the day Berlin fell to the victorious Red Army.

  • queens_unionist

    queens unionist

    sorry if your busy.I merly wished for you to give your interpation of the claim you made. I did’nt want it then and there.

    I was under the impression that we could all speak for ourselves.

    My mistake

    I think that davros we only backing up my point.
    Also as i stated before how can i speak for myself when im not there?I think the point needed to be cleared up there and then so the discussion didn’t go way off topic over the head of you misinterpreting my point.
    comprendez?

  • willowfield

    The “loyal Protestants of Ulster” are Irish: how could they be outnumbered by themselves?

    If you mean they were outnumbered by Irish Catholics, that is hardly amazing given there are about four times more Irish Catholics than Protestants.

    But, regardless of that, what is the point about hiding in shipyards and factories if Hitler had won?

  • ShayPaul

    davros

    could you please translate again for QU

    I’m trying to follow

  • George

    Willowfield,
    as hard as you may find this to believe, the overwhelming majority of Protestants of Northern Ireland don’t consider themselves Irish anymore and prefer the term British only. That’s what they keep saying. I’m only repeating what I hear from the UUP and DUP every day.

    Unionists can’t say the Irish are foreign one day and that they are Irish the next. That’s just plain silly.

    I think David Ervine is the only one I’ve heard even say he considers himself Irish.

  • willowfield

    as hard as you may find this to believe, the overwhelming majority of Protestants of Northern Ireland don’t consider themselves Irish anymore and prefer the term British only. That’s what they keep saying. I’m only repeating what I hear from the UUP and DUP every day.

    Well, even if that is true (which I dobt), it wasn’t the case in the 1940s.

  • George

    UUP’s aims:
    “To secure the political interests of the British people of Ulster regardless of class, colour or creed.”

    Somebody should tell them they don’t have jurisdiction over Ulster for a start. Where is the Irishness there Willowfield?

    I don’t know what unionists thought in the 1940s about their nationality to be honest. I assume they thought they had forced themselves onto the winning team with their private army in 1921 and were just glad they weren’t in the poorhouse with us.

    Probably also thought we in the Irish Republic were miscreants who would eventually see the error of our ways, or whose state would collapse through incompetence and malignant Catlick influence.

  • ShayPaul

    The controversy storysad tale puts the debate into sobering perspective.
    The article introduces a few twists and turns which might challenge all our perceptions. I hope the families get the sense of justice they deserve.

  • willowfield

    Sorry, George, you’re not shedding any light on Pat McLarnon’s comments.

    Maybe Pat will explain.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Willowfield,
    your attempt at blissful ignorance is rather lame. We have had this discussion a few times over the large number of fighting Ulstermen who preferred the heat of the boiler shop at the yard compared to the heat of battle at the war front.
    Those very same people who forced the unionist government of the day to cancel the 12th of July parades. Embarrassed as they were by the huge numbers of able bodied men who skulked in the most loyal part of the empire.

  • Davros

    There’s some truth in what Pat says, although he overdoes it.

    regarding my ealier remark I was responding in kind with a silly remark ( physiognomic typing) to his witticism about the IRA hiding in the Yards.

  • Davros
  • willowfield

    Pat

    your attempt at blissful ignorance is rather lame. We have had this discussion a few times over the large number of fighting Ulstermen who preferred the heat of the boiler shop at the yard compared to the heat of battle at the war front.
    Those very same people who forced the unionist government of the day to cancel the 12th of July parades. Embarrassed as they were by the huge numbers of able bodied men who skulked in the most loyal part of the empire.

    Able-bodied men “skulked”, as you put it, everywhere. I don’t see that it is peculiar to NI, or that is particularly noteworthy or controversial.

    But that’s not what I’m querying. What has the fact that people worked in the shipyards got to do with the IRA in the hypothetical instance of Hitler winning the war??

    This is what you said: If Hitler had have won the IRA only had to take refuge in the shipyard or other overspilling factories and hid among the tens of thousands of others who passed themselves off as essential workers. So much more comfortable than that nasty old battlefield.

  • Davros

    WF- he was joking!

  • willowfield

    Whether or not it was a joke, I don’t understand it.

    What is the connection between Hitler winning the war, the IRA and people working in the shipyard?