Ben Lowry: Remembering the dead of the world wars, including that of a relative in 1917
November 11 has declined as the date commemoration, and since World War II the main ceremonies are on Remembrance Sunday – tomorrow.
November 11 itself is still marked at locations such as Belfast’s cenotaph. A pro Palestinian march in London today is due after the traditional remembrance, and there was talk of an even more provocative anti Israel protest in front of Belfast City Hall, timed to clash directly with the 11am annual silence – is is unclear if it is going ahead.
I was at a service at Campbell College yesterday, held then because institutions that have a weekday event do so the nearest they can to November 11. That means three days of remembrance events this year.
On reaching middle age I became increasingly aware of how close my own link was to the losses – dad’s uncle John Lowry died in 1917. It is sobering to think that he was as closely related to my father as I am to my nephews. John died in his 20s, 13 years before dad was born, just as I would have been in my early 20s if I had died 13 years before my own first nephew’s birth, when I was aged 35.
When I was young John Lowry was just a black and white photograph, with seemingly little relevance to my life. Now the thought of his appallingly early death brings home the importance of remembrance.