Many words have been written about the First World War,
Many words have been used to describe the hell,
Words which should have a profound effect on our thinking,
When we remember all those brave men who fell.
It was bad enough that men should die,
When they answered their country’s call,
But we know now that these battles were futile,
And many of them should never have died at all.
The Generals in charge had little experience of war,
They used tactics which had been used many years before,
In between there had been the development of the machine gun,
And this had brought about a change in the pattern of war.
But the Generals were still fighting yesterdays battles,
Sending men over the top into the wall of fire,
When these were spent, more men were sent,
The numbers of casualties rose higher and higher.
At last the war was over, the guns were silent once more,
It was time to start counting the cost,
Over a million of our young men had perished,
In fact a whole generation had been lost.
It was a relief to all those who had survived,
It was an end to their struggle and strife,
Now they were glad to be on their way home,
Returning back home to try to build a new life.
But these were not the young men who had gone away,
War had changed them in so many ways,
Their youth was something they had hardly known,
They had grown to manhood in a matter of days.
They would all have memories of their friends who had died,
They would still hear their dying friends cries,
These thoughts would torment them as long as they lived,
Involuntary tears would stain their eyes.
Would it ever be possible for them to forget the hell,
Which describes the war through which they had fought,
Was it something that would ensure the worlds peace,
Or had it all been for nought?
The war was supposed to be the war to end wars,
And it was hoped that it would never happen again,
But these hopes turned out to be very short lived,
Soon the world was again feeling pain.
This Second World War was quite different,
But many, many lives were lost as before,
The price we have to pay for peace is expensive,
Which we discover when we count the cost of war.
Since then the world has known three major conflicts,
And there have been civil wars by the score,
And unless we find some way to prevent them,
One day we are going to know more.
We might pray that it will never happen,
That everywhere peace will always prevail,
But unless we can eliminate jealousy, poverty and greed,
All our efforts will be of no avail.
by Ron Martin