another week, another six Union Jack-draped coffins brought back from Afghanistan.
Sons, brothers, grandsons, nephews, husbands, dads, friends, brothers-in-arms, they were all someone very important to a lot of people. But even if you had never known them, you would have to have a hard heart not to be moved by the scenes as the repatriation of these young men took place.
I’m almost scared to tempt fate to say that the number of British Armed Forces personnel killed in Afghanistan since 2001 now stands at 405 as it seems to rise at an alarming rate. Every time it reaches a milestone figure, you think it can’t get any higher, but unfortunately it does and on an all too regular basis.
But not only have those 400-plus lost their lives, countless more have been injured and many of those have been horribly maimed, often losing more than one limb. I’m sure their families are glad that they are still alive but it must be harrowing to watch them go through rehabilitation and see them struggle, both mentally and physically, to come to terms with their terrible injuries.
Searching online this week, I came across a national newspaper story from 1980 ... warning that Afghanistan could end up a blood bath. How right it was.
While not advocating that we don’t get involved in foreign conflicts, or, indeed, the rights and wrongs of some of the confrontations we have been involved with in recent decades, my thoughts are with those who wave their sons and daughters, husbands and fathers, off to war in the knowledge they will likely face situations which could change all their lives forever.
How their families sleep at night, I’ll never know.