The angel of death has been abroad throughout the land.

This from Vaughan Williams cantata ‘Dona nobis pacem’ from 1936, when the fear of renewed war was becoming apparent…using phrases from the speech in Parliament of the radical M.P. John Bright pleading with the government of the time to arrange honest peace terms rather than continue with a war in the Crimea which would cost the lives of many on both sides.

In earlier phases of the cantata Williams uses poems of Walt Whitman… for example, ‘Reconciliation’…’ For my enemy is dead—a man divine as myself is dead; ‘

Here, in 2019, is another eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month…though in the U.K. the commemmoration has been moved to the Sunday previous so as not to disturb daily life.

It should disturb daily life that we permit governments to send our friends, family and, increasingly, mercenaries, to war…to kill or be killed, to maim or be maimed ,whether physically or mentally, in anything other than the utmost need to protect our own people, our own culture.

Where are the six uncles that I would have known had they not perished in the Great War…their children who would have been my cousins?

Did their deaths secure peace?

No

The Versailles agreement brought renewed war inevitably in its wake.

As my father so often said

If the politicians want war let them get into the arena and fight it out.

The result…no more war