A couple of weeks ago I was in the Somme, standing at the base of a war memorial that towered above me. As I approached, it had struck me at first as being too ‘grand’ for its sombre purpose – as if it were a celebration of General Haig’s questionable ‘grand’ plan for a decisive battle. But once I was underneath it, I realized that its height is just a consequence of the 16 mighty piers that hold it up. And mighty they have to be, to carry the engraved names of 72,000 soldiers who died in that area who have no known grave
Many soldiers in the Great War were volunteers. Conscription was not introduced until 1916 – in a 6 week period in 1914 for example, nearly half a million men signed up. Whilst some went to war to leave behind the drudgery of their lives, and others succumbed to social pressure, most were driven by a patriotic sense of defending their freedom. That drive was such that although they may not have fully understood the conditions they would face in the trenches, they knew that wherever they were going, they might never come back.
It is entirely appropriate that we should never forget the ultimate sacrifice they made. But I wonder, have we have matched our laudable ability for remembrance with the same commitment to making the most of the freedom they gave us?
Being free means having the choice of whether to embrace change, or resist it. And in my experience, most people resist most change most of the time. But unless we proactively embrace change in ways that help us and our communities grow, are we not consigning ourselves to hunker down in our own self-dug trenches? If we are not prepared to risk failing, we are guaranteed to fail to achieve anything, prisoners of the status quo.
If we want to make the most of the legacy that was left to us 100 years ago, I reckon we should take stock of the extent to which we really exercise our freedom to make a difference while we’re here. After all, they died so we could. So we should, shouldn’t we?
If you’d like to find out more about how you can increase your change intelligence, feel ‘free’ to get in touch, and I look forward to connecting with you you soon!