Sunday 4 December 2016

It's about more than Grandpa's courage

Commemorating the bravery of the past shouldn't require us to ignore reality, writes Gene Kerrigan

Published 10/08/2014 | 02:30

Here's a rule of thumb: we take from history that which makes us feel good about ourselves today. And, of course, we ignore those parts of history that don't quite fit the picture we like to paint of who we are.

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The current commemoration of World War I, and this country's part in it, lives up to that rule. Some of us feel uneasy at the sentimentality. I'm tired of hearing people speak in awed tones of their relations who fought in the trenches; and in hurt tones of how those relatives came home to a country that didn't greet them as heroes.

Sometimes it's said openly, always it's at least implied - that that nation was instead celebrating what was, in terms of blood and sacrifice, a piddling little Easter rebellion.

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