Chris decided long ago that he could no longer endure the Ceremony of Remembrance parades and services. It was too much for him. He knew that he would break down and weep copious tears, sobbing at all of the memories that he could not set aside. He could never forget!
Instead, each year, he went on his normal morning walk and found a quiet spot, apart from all human presence, and there he would remember his friends, and his enemies. Not all had died young, not all had died in battle. Some had not died, at least not straight away.
He remembered two young men. They had all just returned to camp after manoeuvres and were told they could not go home until all the vehicles had been cleaned and put away. One young man was newly married with a two week old baby. He persuaded his friend to take him home in his car. It wouldn’t take long, and they could be back before anybody noticed they were missing. The car was sporty, high powered, and had a roll bar fitted. The young driver entered a bend far too fast, lost control, and rolled the car. It hit a tree. The roll bar saved the life of the driver but decapitated the young father.
He remembered two young Corporals, erecting an aerial mast on top of a vehicle in Germany, right underneath a very high voltage cable. One walked away with very serious burns, the other had horrendous burns and lost a leg and large portions of muscle mass. Chris had the job of taking inventory of the burned vehicle and its contents and then visiting the worst injured once he left hospital to tell him that he no longer had a job but there was good news, his promotion to Sergeant had come through!
He remembered a young man who shot himself in the chest but survived, only to shoot himself in the head once he was back at work.
He remembered running for his life, literally, when it seemed that everyone wanted him dead, when all around him were falling, screaming, dying. He would not forget!
He stood as usual, at 11am, at attention, alone. He remembered. How could he do anything else?
After two minutes of silence, of remembering, of trying to forget, he saluted, fell, and joined his comrades!