For nearly a century ceremonies in Britain to remember those who fought in the First World War, and subsequently all wars, were animated by the phrase “Lest We Forget.”
In Ireland those ceremonies provoked a response far closer to “Lest We Remember” and were, unfortunately, informed by dishonesty fuelled by politically-motivated denial. This Republic’s reluctance, until very recently, to honour the fact that something around 50,000 Irishmen fought in the war was one of its less attractive characteristics.
The annual Armistice Day remembrance ceremony will be held at the cenotaph in London tomorrow and the Irish ambassador to Britain Dan Mulhall will participate. It is entirely right, and over-due, that this independent country should be so represented.
Recognising the tragedy of all wars is always a complex and challenging exercise and the burden of our history makes it even more difficult. Those complexities have, however, been used for far too long to deny the honourable contribution so many Irishmen made to our world.
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