By the end, 16million people had been killed and 20million wounded in a war that had devastated and destroyed whole cities. Civilians and soldiers, often from poor backgrounds, paid the terrible price for a battle that was brought on by the rich and powerful rulers of competing imperialist powers...Very few benefited from the killing. It did, however, line the pockets of arms companies and their shareholders.
At this time of reflection, as well as remembering those who have served and died for us, I hope we can find a moment to appreciate the values we share, and be thankful of their role in shaping our Armed Forces and what they fight to defend today.
It's not that long ago when people were worried about remembering WW1. Not in how to mark the 100th anniversary of the war as has been the case recently but whether people would still care enough to remember in the war at all.
A picture is worth a thousand words and the blood red poppy speaks most powerfully of all. Although multiple pins and poppies are lost throughout the remembrance time please do continue to buy poppies as every donation goes towards a truly worthy cause, to those it is difficult to articulate your immense appreciation.
This Sunday as I stand and hear the sermon, join the prayers and listen to the Last Post, I will be thinking of friends and colleagues with whom I served in Iraq and Afghanistan who did not come home, those whose funerals I attended, and I will be thinking of their families and loved ones for whom Remembrance is such a personal act.
As well as the millions of human heroes that have given their lives for our freedom, do many of us ever consider those poor animals that also helped bring us peace, specifically employed by mankind for use in warfare? They didn't volunteer - they had no choice.
In memory of the fallen, artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper have created an awe-inspiring art piece to surround the Tower of London: "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" brings 888,246 ceramic poppies to the foot of the landmark, filling the encircling moat with arresting colour.
With Remembrance Day almost upon us we have entered another period of debate and discussion over the symbolism of the poppy. It's a debate which offers irrefutable proof of the increasing politicisation of this annual event, one which rather than unite the country around a shared narrative and set of values instead reminds us of a history of conflict that is contested over the question of whether it should be considered a source of pride or shame...
In what sense could God have been glorified as a result of the First World War? Was he on the side of the British and her allies? Is that why we won, and is that what glorified him? Didn't the Germans pray to the same God?
I was part of the team that helped set up a Veterans Artisan Bakery at The Beacon- a flagship veterans support centre - near Catterick Garrison.
On the 11th month of the 11th day of the 11th hour, we will remember our fallen. We also pay tribute to the many men and women who still protect our country, through the skies, on the ground, through the shores and combating planned attacks. We also remember the ladies and gentlemen who have fallen in recent wars.
In a recent interview with Andrew Marr, the writer and broadcaster Clive James said he'd "be lost without poetry" and in doing so spoke for us all. We, like James, take refuge in words, bathing in the salve of their sound, of English used with precision and intent...
Monday 4th August will see us finally reach the landmark occasion of the 100th anniversary of the declaration of war between the United Kingdom and Germany and what for most people would be the start of the First World War.
Please do not point at me for not wearing a poppy or call my friends ignorant for not visiting war graves in Flanders or Normandy as that does not make us any way less respectful; for the biggest mark of respect my generation can leave is one that looks beyond our differences and in the process creates a fairer and more peaceful world, for everyone.
An empty funeral is a sad sight, but empty chairs during visiting time at a care home are an even sadder one. I'm sure the 300 plus mourners who attended felt good about turning out, but they shouldn't mistake their actions for noble or respectful.
It is easy to look on your younger years through a softer lens. We talk of 'those halcyon days'; we tell children 'school days are the best days of your lives'. It is not a natural human trait to live only for today, or to ignore the lure of greener grass.