Tomorrow the funeral of Harry Patch will take place. He had become famous over the last few years as “The Last Fighting Tommy” of course, but he was essentially a man of peace.

Both he and the recently deceased Henry Allingham frequently said that war solved nothing. There are no victors only victims in the aftermath.

We, who have never fought in a war (and that includes the majority of politicians) can only imagine the horrors they meet. This is why so many of those who fought in the world wars could not bring themselves to speak of their experiences for decades, if ever.

What is it in the make up of man, that has made us wage wars, seemingly since time began?

I may be optimistic, but I think , most ordinary people want to live in peace with one another. The problem is that there is a small minority, who want to impose their own fanatical views on everyone else. They may be fanatical about race, country or religion, and they have such rigid tunnel vision that all sense and reason blows out of the window.

 I wonder whether we will ever evolve into a tolerant society, where war is a thing of history and we respect the rights of other people to have views different from ours, or will we just carry on destroying one another and wasting all our energy and resources until we destroy the world we live in?

Tomorrow, at Harry’s request, his funeral cortege will be composed of French, Belgians, Germans and British as a sign of peace and reconciliation.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we learned something from Harry, Henry and William, the last three veterans of that horrendous war which was supposed to be the war to end wars?

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