Monday, November 13, 2006

Remembrance Sunday (2006) - Kipling and his Son

Yesterday was Remembrance Sunday. To be honest it largely passed me by, which is unusual. But in the evening there was a programme on BBC1 about Rudyard Kipling and how his life was blighted by the loss of his son, John, in the First World War.

His son went to war despite extreme short-sightedness and with the encouragement of his father who was greatly in favour of the war. His son's letters as he approached the front betrayed his youthful innocence and optimism.

The story was reconstructed with actors in parts and I was moved by the scene where Kipling opens the "Missing In Action..." telegram in front of his wife, who breaks down into the most harrowing of sobbing. I thought how awful it would be to lose Oliver. Later I told Hayley about it and reflected on how I would hate him to be sent to war, especially a war created by over-arching politicians. "Well he won't be going to any war, I won't let him" was her summary reply.

But of course, we had to admit he will make his own mind up. And we were left wondering how we will instill in him the right values; values that will steer him into a good life but just as importantly to us will help him to survive.