Tucked away, amongst our family's possessions, exists a sinister looking dagger.

It is sharp to a razor's edge on both sides, arriving at an even more sinister point.

Sheathed in a self-sharpening metallic scabbard, the blade is long enough to reach vital organs and is designed with one cold purpose – to kill.

We know little of the man from whom our grandfather took it. We know they found themselves on opposite sides of a conflict that claimed more than 16 million lives in what was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history.

And we know they fought one another in hand to hand combat, knee deep in the mud of a land foreign and hostile to men from both sides.


Grandfather returned, gassed and traumatised, but alive. From that viewpoint he was one of the lucky ones.

One hundred years ago yesterday - on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - the guns fell silent, and for a time, the world rediscovered peace.

We commemorated with a smattering of services throughout our communities. They were not the crowds of Anzac Day, where hearteningly dawn parades across the country seemingly draw larger and younger crowds every year, but that is perhaps un-surprising.

The important thing is we do remember, and continue to remember. Be it an Anzac Day service, an old war movie, or a piece of family history - we each have our windows to the passed.

And that's important for many reasons.

George Santayana's famous quote "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," is one.

But the one I think sheets home the futility of war most aptly comes from someone who fought in the blood-soaked mud. Who smelled the fear and tasted death.

"There's a battle plan?"
-Edmond BlackAdder