A friend tonight shared her thoughts about the beauty of the poppy installation at the Tower of London and how it such a juxtaposition to the horror of death it represents. She is a braver woman than I and she has inspired me to both respond to her and blog here.
Here was my initial response to her post on Facebook:
"I haven't wanted to go see it at all because I'm sure the sheer number will be overwhelming about the horror of the loss. What i don't understand is that lots of my friends who've been take selfies of themselves smiling on front of it. Why? How's that a memorial? I'm just going to wear my single poppy as I always do and pray like mad for all war to end and no more lives to be lost."
Almost everyone I know has at least wanted to go up to London and visit the Tower of London Remembers installation.
I have not.
Right from the beginning I felt nothing but sadness about every mention of the installation. I know that that's partly the point, but somehow it misses the mark by a long way for me.
There have been some friends who have been moved deeply but for most it has become something to see, a thing to be ticked off the list, an item in London similar to the eye or harrods.
Facebook is full of smiling selfies in front of the poppies and it makes me feel sick.
Why do you smile?
How can you smile?
How can you enjoy looking at all those lives lost?
If I'd gone, and yes I know I might regret not going in years to come, then I know I'd have been overwhelmed with the grief of all those lives lost.
And for what?
Was it the war to end all war?
Do we have a better world because they died?
I've never seen any argument saying we do.
Is it something to smile about?
So I say again
I'm just going to wear my single poppy as I always do and pray like mad for all war to end and no more lives to be lost.