These great global struggles have either faded or are rapidly fading from living memory. Sadly, so have the hopes that either of these 20th century conflicts was going to be a war to end all wars.
As we are all aware, British men and women are still facing the dangers of active service, notably in Afghanistan. Among them are Islanders, who are sharing the privations and risks of life in the front line on our behalf.
The tasks and the potential harm that they face highlight the continuing importance of events which unfolded at the weekend. One of them was the dedication of the Field of Remembrance at the Cenotaph. The other was the launch of the annual Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Money raised through the sale of poppies has always been seen as essential to the continuing welfare of the veterans of past wars. In the present circumstances, it is important that people realise that funds are also needed to look after service personnel who are making sacrifices in battles being fought in the here and now.
With this very much in mind, the Island branch of the British Legion has set an ambitious target for this year’s appeal. It hopes to double the cash raised last year so that a proportion can be earmarked specifically for troops injured in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Last year’s appeal raised £135,000, which is no mean sum. That said, the habitual generosity of Islanders where good causes are concerned could well bring this year’s increased target within reach.
The war in Afghanistan is far from universally applauded, but that is actually beside the point. The Poppy Appeal is not about endorsing political or military policy; it is about helping individuals who, as a consequence of service to the nation, may be in desperate need of our support.
There will be plenty of opportunities to make a donation and wear a poppy in the days leading up to the anniversary of the First World War armistice on 11 November, the traditional focal point of the British Legion fund-raising drive.
Those who do so can be safe in the knowledge that the sums raised will be used – and used wisely – in funding worthwhile, deserving causes.