Like most families we have stories about the wars handed down to us. My grandfather lost his arm in WW1 thanks to a canon wheel. He learned to swim, play snooker and do all sorts of things with only one arm. He died before I was born. My gran and her sister my great aunt lived together in a little bungalow and we would take my aunt to Mass each week-but gran would never come.
She had stopped going after the war. I am not sure whether it was after the first or second world war, but she despised war and blamed the Church for supporting it. Her only brother died on the last day of the WW 1 -shot somewhere in the trenches in France only a few days after his 16th birthday.
It was not legal for a 15 yr old boy to be out at the front of course-but by the end of the war there were few men left and lads were allowed to sign on without much in the way of background checks being done. Jack's death stayed with my aunts and gran for the rest of their lives.
My aunt Eileen had been a priest's housekeeper for many years and had been engaged. Her fiance was killed.
In WW2 my uncle was in the engineering corps and was among those who entered-I think it was Belson-at the end of the war and had the task of burying the piles and piles of bodies the Nazi's left. He never talked about it so I don't know the details.
Now we know those who have served in Iraq.
Tomorrow-we remember and pray