My husband and I have always shared a passion for history - particularly both world wars. Last night we watched "All Quiet on the Western Front." I'd read the book years ago and had never seen the movie. Even though it was made in 1930, the brutal images were so distressing that at times I couldn't watch it. Maybe it was because the memory of the First World War was still vivid in the minds of the creators and carried the message of "never again" or perhaps it was seeing the carnage on the fields of northern France, we knew another war would come just nine years later and all those brave souls had died in vain.
All I know is that my grandfather fought on the Western Front in the trenches. He survived physically, but not mentally. He came home deaf and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - in those days, it was called "Shell Shock." I never knew him, since he passed away before I was born but I'll not forget him.
Often, my boss will call in for messages if he's traveling and I usually reply "All quiet on the Western Front." It's said in an absent-minded way yet in that moment, my grandfather's shadow crosses my heart.
Photo from left to right: Dad, Grandma, Mum and Granddad.