One year ago today, Veterans For Peace UK member Daniel Lenham stood outside Downing St and threw his service medals on the ground (see video below) in protest at the government’s decision to sanction air strikes on Syria. Now he has written a moving poem about his decision:
Myth of the Medal
One year ago today, I gave you them both back,
‘Worthless trinkets’ I said, for Libya and Iraq,
There’s no pride or honour in those medals for me,
Just guilt wrapped in ribbons for worshippers to see.
I got mine for invasion and occupation of foreign land,
Dividing a country, destroying a nation, those politicians planned,
Heroes for our service, built on nothing but lies,
To rob, kill and steal, black gold was the prize.
There will come a time when you’ll realise some day,
That patriotism isn’t enough to keep your conscience at bay,
Berets and blazers at the ready, marching to remember the dead,
Drums of war beating in the background, never again you all said.
The media plays its part with the propaganda they peddle,
The military is where it starts, the myth of the ‘precious’ medal,
You wear them on your chest but they belong on the floor,
That’s why I’m a Veteran For Peace,To see an end to war.
Daniel Lenham, VFP Durham
Here are the words Daniel spoke outside Downing St:
‘This is a token I received for the occupation and invasion of Iraq. This is a medal I received for the destruction and devastation of Libya. I’m here today to show my utter contempt and disgust at the government’s decision to once again attack the Middle East. If you look close enough at these medals you will see the reflections of dead Iraqis; you can see the embers of Libya, and you can see the faces of the men and women of the British Armed forces who didn’t return, and also those who did, with lost limbs and shattered souls. I no longer require these medals. We are Veterans For Peace. Our members have fought in every war since World War II.’