What he didn’t mention — but may have known — is that the last survivor of the truce, Alfred Anderson, died last month, aged 109.
Hubby and I honeymooned in England in 2003 over November 11, Remembrance Day. Then, two or three of the surviving World War One vets were bundled up and driven down Whitehall as a part of the observances. We were amazed at — and the BBC commentor noted — their apparent health despite all being over 100.
Something about the First World War sticks with me. The huge loss of life, and with it the loss of optimism that took a toll on liberalizing movements, including both the Universalist and Unitarian churches. Seeing the last of the World War One vets — none under 104 years old — die reminds me both of the twin frailty and ruggedness of human life, and the lost opportunity for a more progressive world.
A list of the last known 85 or so World War One veterans can be read here. But this may be the last Christmas that generation sees.
Depressed? Irritated? So many men died in WWI that some women — who would have otherwise married — devoted thmeselves to single lives of great service. Of these, the story I know best is Margaret Barr, the British minister with the Khasi Unitarians in India, who even now is remembered for her life of service.