The hundred year anniversary of the First World War.
One hundred years ago today Britain declared war on Germany. As the airwaves drowned in telegrams of nations declaring war on each other, the lamps of the world said a newspaper had gone out. Church bells rang throughout Europe, no weddings or celebrations, the harbinger of war, mud and death.
The rulers of the time said the war would be over in weeks, at worst by Christmas. In my town of Colchester they marched to war, the drums and marching feet echoed in every other town and village in Britain, and across every hamlet in Europe. Those happy optimistic faces fighting for their king and country, the memorials of their passing stand tall and silent in every corner of Colchester, many of those laughing faces never came back.
The rulers gambled like drunks in a casino, millions of lives like little poker chips on the table. At the head of the table was Death, his perpetual grin marking the only winner in this game. The casino always wins, the harvest of dying empires like butchered cattle hanging on meat hooks.
Verdant green grass cover the angry fields of agony; crimson-blood coloured poppies replace the dying men; the sweet singing sky lark drowns out the explosions and screams amidst a thin wall of time. All the players in the Greek tragedy of human stupidity are gone, death takes all.
The last ancient soldier who marched and came back home nearly alone. Today on the hundred year anniversary of war he would hear a British Prime Minister calling for increased military spending, NATO armies deployed to Russian borders. The soldier might question the sacrifice. In their casino the rulers gamble; in austerity the Colchester town lights go out again at night; the grinning man smiles.