Lest we forgetPosted: November 11, 2012
Today is Remembrance Sunday, a day which we remember those who bravely fought and died in the line of duty.
But it wasn’t only soldiers who died. Millions of animals gave up their lives too, from horses and dogs, to pigeons and even glow-worms. The Animals in War monument in central London stands as tribute to all the animals that served, suffered and died alongside the British, Commonwealth and Allied forces in the wars and conflicts of the 20th century.
So today I’ll be spending the traditional minute’s silence by thinking about the animals involved in warfare and I hope you will too.
‘A Soldier’s Kiss’:Only a dying horse! pull off the gear, And slip the needless bit from frothing jaws, Drag it aside there, leaving the road way clear, The battery thunders on with scarce a pause. Prone by the shell-swept highway there it lies With quivering limbs, as fast the life-tide fails, Dark films are closing o’er the faithful eyes That mutely plead for aid where none avails. Onward the battery rolls, but one there speeds Needlessly of comrades voice or bursting shell, Back to the wounded friend who lonely bleeds Beside the stony highway where he fell. Only a dying horse! he swiftly kneels, Lifts the limp head and hears the shivering sigh Kisses his friend, while down his cheek there steals Sweet pity’s tear, “Goodbye old man, Goodbye”. No honours wait him, medal, badge or star, Though scarce could war a kindlier deed unfold; He bears within his breast, more precious far Beyond the gift of kings, a heart of gold.
– Henry Chappell
To find out more about the Animals in War sculpture and the history behind it, you can visit: www.animalsinwar.org.uk