100th Anniversary of the battle of the Somme today; fascinating to learn about what happened during those fateful months and sobering to try to imagine the fear and suffering of ordinary soldiers faced with "going over the top" into a hail of bullets and almost certain annihilation. I was heartened to see my own Son bidding farewell to his German exchange buddy in a rainy car-park this morning, ironically at exactly 7:30 am, these two lads have spent a week together now and I sense that a real friendship has been struck. Next week he's off to Germany to spend a week over there, for an English boy, an interesting time to be doing something like this. I wonder what his memories will be in years to come when he looks back on the Summer of '16 and I wonder how history will judge the decisions being made right now.
These days many people criticise the way in which the leaders of this country and our armed forces conducted battles like the Somme, many question the necessity (or lack) of them, it's difficult to judge decisions objectively from this vantage point in history but what can be said with certainty is that the consequences of this offensive were not foreseen or anticipated by those leaders at the time and even denied by many for a long time afterwards. A case of nationalism and emotion gaining the upper-hand over reason and good sense perhaps? It's often not possible to draw direct parallels between human disasters of the past like the Somme and recent or current affairs, but some things never change, it's always ordinary people who suffer when our leaders make appallingly bad decisions.