Monday, 28 January 2008

The BBC News website is carrying a report from Germany. It states that a man believed to be the last German veteran of the Western Front has died.

The phrase "believed to be" is important because Germany has no records of its veterans. As the article points out this is due to the country's 20th century history and it's role in the two world wars.

Whatever else this passing marks another sure step toward the War ceasing to be memory and becoming History. The people who were there are disappearing and we must seek other ways to explore, understand and commemorate the events. We are trying to show how archaeology can do this.

We say commemorate and mean it: whether German or Belgian or Indian or whoever the War was a tradgedy that has effects at national and personal levels that can still be felt today. To commemorate the War is not to glorify it or celebrate national triumph, rather it is to mark an event that still has resonance today. Above all we remember that we are all people.

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