The First World War is not normally remembered for its epic battles outside the tranches of Europe, as there was nothing Ypres-like about, say, 'Edwardian' Southeast Asia. We just don't associate it to be as globally engulfing as World War Two. Yet, it would a mistake to think that there were geographical limits to the range in which this first (only if one discounts the Seven Years War) recognisable 'world war' was fought.
Another day, and another journalist has laid into the young generation of today, insinuating they are weak and without moral fibre. As Jeremy Paxman put it this week, they are considered: 'materialistic, self-obsessed, hedonistic ... because of the decline of the traditional notion of duty and the influence of social media'.
We should reflect on the causes and how to prevent a repeat of the massive, inhumane loss of life that the 'Great War' brought about. We should be doing that regardless of whether the number of years can make the graphics look pretty. But there are so many other conflicts that need documentaries made about them.
Just like the courtesy of learning a few words of the language, for someone from the UK travelling to countries with different memories of WWI than ours, learning a little more about the scale and legacy of this truly global conflict can be invaluable in effectively navigating and building relationships of trust.
It is that time of year again where every poppy pinned to a lapel is joined by a newspaper column, blog or tweet on why no one should be wearing a poppy. To wear or not to wear a poppy is a debate raging everywhere, and unfortunately this controversy is dominating the discourse on commemoration and precluding the wider national debate we should be having on the subject.
The worthy practice of donating first-hand, with its inherent 'nothing in return' aspect, has been replaced with the more morally ambiguous purchasing of an mp3. When you put pennies in the Chelsea Pensioner's box and collect your poppy, you are forced, however momentarily, to individually reflect on the meaning of the paper token you've acquired.
Politicians love to invoke history. It's fodder for Syria, tax policy, welfare reform and what to do about the environment. The late historian Tony Judt once argued that we suffer from a dangerous illusion, namely "'that we live in a time without precedent . . . and that the past has nothing to teach us''. Sure enough.
I'm sure many soldiers had opposition to the arguments politicians were making when they were being shot to pieces in horrible battlefields. But that's not what Remembrance Day is about; it's a neutral showing of respect for those who have died in conflicts, whether or not the conflicts themselves were agreed with.