Passhendaele 1917-2017: Why its Important to Remember?
T he simple fact is half a million casualties in a little over 4 months is the reason why we should remember. It was industrial slaughter for very little territorial gain. 

A perfect example of the futility of war?!  Is there any reason that can justify such a momentous cost?  It is one of the major events that form the foundation of Europe of today. We owe a huge debt to the men that fought and paid the ultimate price for us to learn from their sacrifice.

Some facts of the battle:

  • 3rd Battle of Ypres
  • 500,000 casualties for 5 miles of territory
  • 400,000+ shells fired before the push
  • Men and tanks drowned in the mud
  • Majority of the graves remain unmarked

Remembering a time when Europe was divided by competing empires, where men and boys rushed to the front for King and Country.   It was a strange time judging by the standards of today.  To question the validity of the battle and wonder was it worth it in the greater scheme of things, is to make the lessons learned from it seem minor.

To remember is to honour them, to remember is not to glorify, to remember is to give thanks.  There were huge issues that they had to contend with at a time when autocratic royal houses and totalitarian regimes still largely ruled vast swathes of the world.  

In a time and a place where the comforts and security that we take for granted were unimaginable, we are the most fortunate of all our forbears to have that which we have today. It is also correct to say that if we do not look back and honour that which was for all its faults we cannot presume to know how we should chart our course forward.

By looking back and giving thanks, to understand where we went wrong in order to learn is something we should never underestimate.  Our combined histories tell us just how intertwined we are as a people.  Suffering elsewhere visits us in some way shape or form, which is just as relevant today and its in our mutual interest to work towards a better society and freedoms for all.

Sometimes merely reporting on the facts of an event isn't sufficient. Its just as important if not more to highlight the net result of such costly events.  There isn't a corner of the world that has not benefitted from the victories on the western front.  Taking a moment to acknowledge the cost it is the least we can do.

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