Two widows. Two wars. Two very different stories

In the week George Bush compared Iraq to World War Two, two widows of each war tell their very different stories
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The Independent Online

Edna Glennon, 80, from Melrose in the Scottish Borders, lost her husband, Edward Bucknill, on 10 July 1944 - shortly after D-Day - on the approach to Caen. Samantha Roberts, 33, from Shipley, West Yorkshire, lost her husband Steven when he was killed in Iraq on 24 March 2003

Edna Glennon, 80, from Melrose in the Scottish Borders, lost her husband, Edward Bucknill, of 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment, on 10 July 1944 - shortly after D-Day - on the approach to Caen

I'd been married to Edward for two years when he was killed during the final battle on the approach to Caen. He was 22 years old.

Two days before I was informed of my husband's death, our homes were pulverised by doodlebug bombs.

I was four months' pregnant and I lost our expectant baby. It was while I was standing in the rubble of our home that the postman delivered the letter informing me that my husband had been killed. He never found out that I lost the baby. It was absolutely devastating. It is no exaggeration to say that it hangs over your whole life. Many of my memories from that period in my life are more painful than I care to recall. They defy all imagination.

Every year I come to Normandy to visit Eddie's grave and it's the highlight of my calendar. It's a very private experience and it is very intense emotionally but it brings a great sense of calm. I am lifted away from the rest of my life because I am with the only person I have ever wanted to be with since the age of seven. The most precious belongings I have, which I always carry with me, are two framed photographs of Eddie.I would spend the rest of my life in Normandy and visit his grave every day if I could.

Today, when I read about what is going on in Iraq and the rest of the world I could get very, very angry. But it's difficult to compare what happens in one place with what happens in another.

The difference then was that we believed in what we were doing. There was so much horror to wipe out and the instigators had to be destroyed. But I was very proud of my husband and he was proud of what he was doing too and I don't think that anyone would have had it any differently.

Samantha Roberts, 33, from Shipley, West Yorkshire, lost her husband Steven, who was in the 7th Armoured Division - known as the Desert Rats - when he was killed in Iraq on 24 March 2003

Steve was very proud of his regiment. They played a part in Normandy and he was in awe of the veterans. Watching the D-Day commemorations made me very emotional and sad, as well as incredibly proud.

I miss Steve terribly every day. I think about him all the time. He was romantic and there is a huge gap in my life which will never be filled. Steve's death has changed me as a person. I don't think I will ever get over it.

What has made me feel more alone is that so many people disapproved of the war and, because of the bad things happening in Iraq, people are not so sympathetic. Heroes of the Second World War died while fighting tyranny.

That is what Steven went into Iraq to do - to remove a tyrannical leader - but I do not think the threat was as intense as it was made it out to be. I think we were fooled by the British Government. I feel quite cheated. I would like to believe Steve died for a cause. It's very hard to believe he died for nothing, but the thing that scares me more than anything is that his death may not have been justified.

Over the past year, I have begun to believe in the case for war less and less. Steve and I felt he was fighting for the right reasons but with hindsight, I am beginning to think differently.

George Bush is wrong to make a comparison between the struggles of the men in the Second World War and the present war. It is insulting to the men who were there on D-Day. He said it because everyone has sympathy and admiration for those men. But he cannot compare himself to them.

If Steve were alive today he might be quietly disappointed with the situation in Iraq although he would probably have kept that to himself.

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