The ceremonies every year on November 11, to mark the anniversary of the end of the First World War in 1918, commemorate the dead but leave no reason for doubt that their deaths were justified. The red poppy, now compulsory dress code for the BBC, parliament and all other parts of the British establishment in the weeks running up to the anniversary, is produced by the British Legion and is promoted by the army.
The Cenotaph has long been connected with wars, not peace, its ceremonies of remembrance carried out on behalf of the military, not in opposition to it. The misery, futility, destruction of war is hidden from view behind the cheering, flag waving and pompous commentaries which mark the ceremonies.
“There is everything right about remembering the dead who die in futile wars. There is everything wrong about using the past dead to justify current wars.”
Read Lyndsey German on the History of the Cenotaph here.