Letter: Remembering the war dead with pomp

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The Independent Online
Sir: Frank Barrett ('Poignancy without pomp and poppies', 3 November) writes movingly about the nightly ceremony at Ypres, where the Last Post is sounded without elaborate pomp, and how much more impressive it is than the pageantry of the Cenotaph or the Albert Hall.

Compared to what is planned for next June, the 50th anniversary of D-Day, the Cenotaph will appear a model of restraint. For the weekend 4-6 June 1994, there will be re-enactments of the landing, exhibitions, dances, 1944 music, World War Two films and saturation coverage on television. This will happen in south coast towns such as Portsmouth and Weymouth. In Normandy itself, events are planned for a whole year and hotels have been fully booked since 1992. Thousands of ex-GIs are coming over. The Canberra and the QE2, full of veterans, will sail into Cherbourg.

The memory of a great battle in which thousands died or were maimed is being celebrated as a Hollywood extravaganza, so that the tourist industry can make a killing 1994-style - even if the whole concept dishonours and degrades the dead of 1944.

Yours faithfully,

SIDNEY VINES

Laverstock, Wiltshire

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