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Remembrance Day: Readers select their favourite war poems and songs

PUBLISHED: 16:30 31 October 2013

Remembrance Day poppies

Remembrance Day poppies

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From tributes to fallen soldiers, to condemnations of conflicts, Reporter readers have been selecting their favourite war poems and songs ahead of Remembrance Day.

Mike Dixon chose the powerful anti-war poem Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen, which describes soldiers dying “as cattle” and succumbing to the “monstrous anger of the guns”.

He said: “I studied war poetry many years ago when I trained as a teacher and this, for me, was the most complete, moving memorial to the dead of the First World War.

“I love [all] the poetry of World War One, but I think that Owen’s poetry is just so well structured and has tremendous imagery.”

Bee Lodge picked For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon, a poem very different in tone.

It pays tribute to the soldiers who never came back from the battlefields of the First World War and is often cited in Remembrance Day services.

Bee said: “I have always found it so moving. I chose it because it reminds us of the horrors of war and how we must never forget those that died.”

The poem’s most famous stanza reads: “They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

Poems were also chosen by Dartford MP Gareth Johnson, who selected The Soldier by Rupert Brooke, and Dartford councillor Arron Bardoe, who vouched for Futility by Wilfred Owen.

Cllr Bardoe said: “This poem particularly talks about the pointlessness of war and what we should consider before we embark on war.

“Those who bring about war should realise it doesn’t lead to anything; it doesn’t change anything.”

Gravesham Council’s Tan Dhesi, lead member for business and the community, chose two songs inspired by war.

He said: “One song that really sticks out is Vera Lynn’s The White Cliffs of Dover. I think it is evocative of that period and very patriotic, with the idea that in peacetime we’ll have bluebirds again.

“It was extremely popular in terms of raising the morale of the population.”

Cllr Dhesi’s second choice is Wherever You Are by the Military Wives Choir.

“That song is absolutely excellent and a lot more touching and personal,” he said.

“It involves our community in the way that it brings the public together to support our armed forces.”

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