One hundred years ago today the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife took place in Sarajevo, an event that precipitated the first World War and the deaths of over nine million. Such carnage was incomprehensible and thought to be “the war to end all wars”, until a couple of decades later a second global conflict resulted in more than 5 times as many fatalities.
Thankfully, although we have seen many other wars since (Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, The Falklands, Afghanistan, Syria, and more) we have not experienced fatalities on this scale. In this country our conflicts have been at distance, with most of the population seeing little difference in their day-to-day lives. For that we have our armed forces to thank. They continue to make the ultimate sacrifice when called upon to do so in service of their country, and across the UK today we have been acknowledging that service on Armed Forces Day.
I was at the parade in Newcastle, and initially thought I might shoot some HDR vehicle shots, but the presence of so many veterans of earlier conflicts enthralled me. The small square held a cornucopia of cap badges on berets of various colours, and swollen chests displayed a myriad of medals that represented the experiences that these men and women had lived through on our behalf. I’ll let the faces, young and old, tell their stories, but I felt privileged to be there with them.