I have no particular affection for Jeremy Paxman, just a bloke doing a job and have no idea if hes pro or anti forces. This article, which I have edited for brevity, is in my opinion well written and counters the argument that we eat babies...etc etc. Enjoy! JEREMY PAXMAN: Wear a poppy ... for the lions killed in war, not the donkeys who send them there By JEREMY PAXMAN Last updated at 10:11 PM on 01st November 2008 The first sentence of the daily diary of Earl Haig, the British commander in the First World War, is remarkably banal. 'Fine day but cold and dull,' begins the entry describing November 11, 1918. As it turned out, the day was anything but dull. And it was certainly fine: after four years of warfare, at 11 that morning, the guns would be silenced. At the same time on every succeeding Sunday morning closest to November 11, next Sunday included, many of us pause to remember that moment. Ninety years on, what are we doing? It was all a very long time ago and recollection demands an ever greater act of imagination. There are now only three men alive who survived to the Armistice. It is not just that the interval of time is so great. Most of us simply have no sense of what military life is like: a couple of generations have passed since we could all expect to have spent part of our lives wearing uniform. There is not a single person at the top of Government with first-hand experience of service life, let alone of the terror of combat. The men and women who send our soldiers to war - and that devout Christian Tony Blair sent British forces into action six times in five years - have never had to carry a gun themselves. In that, they merely reflect the nation they lead: we have become flabby and comfortable and the Army, Navy and RAF are remote tribes of which complacent civilians know little. In marking the anniversary of the 1918 Armistice, we do not, as my pacifist friends claim, 'fetishise' war or applaud it as a way of solving problems. Many of us may profoundly disagree with the ambitions and distrust the motivations of the politicians who send soldiers, sailors and air crew to do jobs they could not do themselves. What we're taking part in is an act of respect, not for warfare but for the poor sods whose task it was to carry guns and who did not return to grow old, as the rest of us grow old. So, let us silence the offensive claim that by honouring the dead we condone war. Doubtless, in the early days of the First World War, there were a few boneheads who went off to the front thinking the whole thing a bit of a lark. But the vast majority weren't like that. I have never forgotten having tea with an old boy who had become a brigadier in the First World War. I was 19, about the same age he had been when sent to Flanders. What brought me up short was his remark that he knew that when he arrived at his sector of the front, his life expectancy was two weeks. 'When those of us who survived came home,' he said, as he laid down his cup quietly, 'half the chaps we'd been at school with were dead.' The rituals enacted across the country by men and women, old and young, the religious and the atheistic, are not taking place to glorify violence but to respect the memory of those young people. It is an entirely different thing. Every country sees history through the prism of its own contribution and to the British the First World War is always about the trenches of the Western Front, with perhaps a nod at the Dardanelles, Lawrence of Arabia or the Battle of Jutland. But for the Italians, it is the horrific fighting in the Alpine snows at the Battle of Caporetto; for the Russians, the war's animating role in the Bolshevik Revolution, and for the Australians, a (highly distorted) propagandist example of the way callous Poms sacrificed heroic Diggers at Gallipoli. This is not to downplay the British Empire's contribution to the war. More than 900,000 young men from the Empire had futures they never tasted. Two million more were wounded in some way: footballers who returned from France with no legs, breezy, confident teenagers reduced to shuddering ghosts, handsome children who were to spend the rest of their lives with no face. The way things are going in Afghanistan, British soldiers could still be risking life and limb long after Tony Blair has retired to his country house and a seat in the House of Lords. I shall wear a poppy not because I believe the gun is the best way of settling disputes, still less because I admire the pretence, ambition, folly, vanity or desperation of the politicians who make the fateful decisions. I shall wear a poppy because an act of remembrance once a year is the very least that those of us who have not been asked to risk our lives can offer those who did not have our choice.