Then I got to thinking about the other people in my life that have meant so much to me, and although he died when I was only 12, I still remember my Grandfather, James Hill, as such a kind and gentle man.
Although I didn't know until many years later, his strongly held pacifist beliefs were shaped by his experiences during the First World War. James lied about his age to join the army age 15, in 1915, and along with six of his friends was sent to France, where he fought in the Battle of the Somme. He was the only one of the group who ever returned to England, and the horrors of that time never left him.
I have made this card in his memory.
Anyone who has ever driven through, or visited northern France, cannot have failed to see the huge War Graves, and I would truly encourage you to stop and visit one if you ever have the opportunity, they are immensely moving, and a strangely peaceful place to just sit and contemplate.
The words are from the poem Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen, whose parents were informed of his death on Armistice Day, November 11th 1918. Roughly translated the Latin means ... It is sweet and meet to die for one's country. Sweet and decorous (From Horace, Odes, III.ii.13). Please, if you can, read the whole poem. In just 28 lines it describes the obscenity and horror of armed conflict.
I have made some poppies (using my Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die), which are such a potent symbol of remembrance. Please buy a poppy if you can for November the 11th, as young men and women are still loosing their lives in the service of our country.