Thirty Years On

I remember what I was doing on March 6th, 1987. My brother hadn’t long moved out of home, I hadn’t long got back from Basic Training with the Territorial Army and the crippling snows had nearly all gone.

My brother and I went to a bar that had a lock-in and when we walked in, there was silence from everyone, with just the noise of the newsreader on the radio. I thought he was telling a story from the descriptions he was giving. I said to my brother something along the lines of it being quite a vivid description and wouldn’t mind it being a film so we could watch it. That’s when one of the other patrons said it wasn’t a story. It was real, and then the full horror of it started to sink in.

A ferry had left the Belgian port of Zeebrugge bound for Dover, It was the Herald of Free Enterprise. A red and white Townsend Thoreson ship, one that was referred to as a RoRo – Roll On – Roll Off.

As it left the port, the doors were not closed properly and a wave entered the bottom level of the ship and caused it to list and it was in trouble.

Just ninety seconds later – One and a half minutes. Less time than it takes to boil an egg. Less time than it takes most people to use the toilet. Less time than a commercial break on the TV. 193 people were dead.

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Image courtesy of Google Images

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Image courtesy of Getty Images

Memories

WARNING: PHOTOS MAY CAUSE DISTRESS

I remember, ten years ago today, I took my son to school, then went to a friend’s house. I left something, so had to go back home. On the way, I saw a singular magpie and looked around for a second but there weren’t any. I laughed at myself as it was superstition the “One for sorrow, two for joy” rhyme.

I arrived home just after 9:30 am and realised I had left the TV on when I went out. What I saw on there, it can only be described as horror. London had suffered it’s worst terror attack in living history. Bloodied people were walking, or being carried, out of the underground. A bus was in tatters and the reporters were finding it difficult to speak.

Fifty-two people lost their lives on July 7th 2005.

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© The Times Newspaper

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© The Daily Telegraph

A Century On – Remember The Fallen

100 years ago, a war started. They called it The War To End All Wars. Over 16 million people died in that War. Over 20 million were wounded.

The War did not end all wars. It showed a new way of killing millions. Maybe one day we will look back at every single man woman and child who gave their lives or had their lives taken, and see it as a barbaric time in the growing of mankind. It would be perfect if no-one else had to die because of a tyrant wanting oil, or a despot wanting a neighbouring country; a dictator wanting more power or an oppressor ruling by execution.

People like my grandfather who died as a result of being in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp. My cousin who watched his friends die in the first Iraq war. Wars were bloody before that, and they have been bloody since. Nobody wins in a war, but everybody loses.

Whether you call it Remembrance Day or Veteran’s Day, today we remember every soldier who gave their life in conflict.

Below the photo is a poem I wrote two years ago and reposted last year on November 11th.

Poppy growing outside the Battle of Britain War Memorial, taken in 2012

Poppy growing outside the Battle of Britain War Memorial, taken in 2012

Remember The Fallen

For what they gave, we always remember
Every year, on the eleventh of November

For those heroes, there will be no tomorrow
We think of them and their courage with sorrow

In the UK, it is Sunday, Day of Remembrance
Where we think of the fallen with much deference

In the US, the day is called veteran’s Day
Where troops march past where the soldiers lay

We think of the soldiers who have died in a war
And we know full well there will be many more

All wars come with a very high price
We mourn those who pay the ultimate sacrifice

All soldiers are heroes and have our respect
You know what I say is true and correct

I hope one day we can say no soldier has died
Where countries can live together, side by side

Until then we can only hope and pray
Our men and women see another day

© A Forbes 2012

A Photo A Day … November 05 2013

Here in the UK, today is celebration day. Bonfire Night, Firework Night, Guy Fawkes Night. The reason it is a celebration, is because in 1605, Guido Fawkes was part of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament along with King James I. He was executed on 31st January 1606, but on 5th November 1605, an effigy of him was burned on a huge bonfire. Ever since then, effigies of him (and in some places – other controversial people) are burned on a fire either on November 5th or the closest Saturday/Sunday to it with fireworks due to the fact that it was gunpowder that was going to be used to fuel the explosive. Guido (Guy) Fawkes was not the ringleader of the treasonous plot; that was Robert Catesby. There is a rhyme that goes with the date.

Remember, Remember
The Fifth of November
Gunpowder, Treason and plot
I can see no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Today’s photo of the day has nothing to do with Guy Fawkes, bonfires, fireworks or anything like that. It is that of a man – I won’t name him – who sells a paper called The Big Issue. It is for people who are or were homeless to help themselves get out of the situation by making money. They have to buy the paper themselves, and then sell them. They buy the paper for £1.25 ($2) and sell it for £2.50 ($4) thus working to make money. This guy is a really nice guy and I buy the paper off of him every week. If I miss a week, he will hold one for me, and if I don’t have the money that week, he will give me the paper anyway and tell me to pay him the following week. You don’t get many people like him any more. He sits there in all weather, today it is cold and raining and he nearly always has a smile on his face.

November 05 2013