Remembrance Day is a reminder that some things are more important than football. A bad football result can ruin a weekend but war can wreck lives. Some are killed or wounded physically, others carry mental scars that aren’t always obvious to their nearest and dearest.
When soldiers are trained to kill, they learn to think of their opponents as enemies and not as fellow human beings with mothers and lovers waiting for them back home. It seems terrible that they have to learn the opposite of empathy but it is necessary for soldiers in combat. Empathy, the ability to see another person as a fellow human being with similar feelings to oneself, makes it hard to kill someone. That was why, in 1914, when Christmas truces broke out along the Western Front there was consternation in the high commands of both armies.
Next year’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Christmas truce will include some football matches, to commemorate the games in No Man’s Land between German and British soldiers. A reminder that football can sometimes bring people together. I continue to hope that the future will bring less fighting and more football.