Friday, November 06, 2009

My idea of the worst job in the world

The caption below the photograph on the front of today's Times read:
'For every fallen soldier, a poppy. Some of the 60,000 crosses planted in the field of Remembrance outside Westminster Abbey. For the first year there are dedicated plots for the 229 killed in Afghanistan and the 179 in Iraq, each with a photograph attached'.
The photograph caught my eye, it had a certain pattern - a closely cropped sea of little wooden crosses, each with its own red poppy and passport sized picture attached - each representing a man of woman killed in action. Each little cross had a soldier's name and age written on it too. I began to read.

(I should know better of course. The enormity of this death toll hits home soon and hard. I am devastated by such loss of life - the deaths of these young people; sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands, wives and lovers. All so young; most younger than my own lovely men for whom I feel boundless love - and cannot contemplate their loss.)

Those names were each carefully written in the same hand. What kind of day's work is that? Who had the job of doing that? Take a cross, attach a poppy, stick on a photograph, write a name and an age to left and right. Do it with care. Repeat 408 times, each time seeing a life stopped in its prime.

I would find that job very difficult to do.

7 comments:

bayou said...

Those are certainly the thoughts of so many of us but you have written it in such a touching way! But the most horrible thing is that there is no end in sight and this person's job is continuing.

Wipso said...

Beautifully written and so right. A x

her at home said...

When I lived in Egypt I remember going to visit the world war 2cemeteries in El Alamien and reading the books kept thier like a visitors book but listing the names and details of each soldier and where they were buried. One of the horrors there was the realisation that some of them were very much guess work as the reamins were a sort of compote becaause of teh nature of the warfare. As you say a horrid job but in many ways a noble job too and perhaps,if you look upon it as a mark of respect, not so horrid as at least one person is making sure that each death is marked and remembered .

elizabethm said...

A mark of respect is right, but so very hard. Just so many of them and I am not really sure for what, despite years of reading and listening.

Preseli Mags said...

Such a difficult, sad task but an honour too, I suppose. I think a worse job would be the one who has to break the news to the families. This morning I was thinking of all the new families who now have someone to remember today. Far too many.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

You could do it , you know , but it wouldn't make you sad . Just very angry and determined to make this small display as worthy as possible .

Pam said...

I got choked up just reading this. These two wars just seems to go on and on and I wish it would end.