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The TV presenter speaks of ‘sacrifice’.

She is al fresco on a purple sofa

with puce cushions. In the middle ground

are dignitaries, veterans, and a band.

Beyond are the War Graves Commission’s white ranks

of the British dead from Sword and Gold.


Only one speaker – beret, blazer, medals,

a RN signaller on a landing craft –

comes close to hinting that no one chose

to be a sacrifice. His speech is short,

even appropriately amusing,

and delivered unwaveringly

until the phrase, ‘My abiding memory’.

He halts, overcome – then repeats the words:

and, for the untold time, becomes a helpless

witness. The young squaddies he had joked with –

moments before the ramp clattered down –

were dead, floating with the tide toward the sand.




© Copyright David Selzer
3 Responses
  • Ashen
    November 8, 2020

    Touching, the futile attempts for glory.

  • Keith Johnson
    November 8, 2020

    It is so important that we of the succeeding generation keep these memories alive. I was born 9 June 1944 as the ‘boys were on the Beaches’, my father already one of the RAF dead. It is vain to believe that only the living observe.

  • Kate Harrison
    November 9, 2020

    Amy Beechey, from Lincolnshire, was one of 2 mothers who lost 5 sons in the Great War. In April 1918, Amy Beechey was presented to King George V, and honoured by the King and Queen for her immense sacrifice – but despite her great pride in her sons, she was a reluctant heroine.
    “It was no sacrifice, Ma’am,” she told Queen Mary. “I did not give them willingly.”

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