Michelle Wright

Writer

I have done family research into my great grand Uncle Tom Andrews who died in WW1 aged 21. I found a memorial wall at Tyne cot cemetery with his name. In researching his life I suddenly felt very connected to those boys who went off to war in a way that had not been so real to me before. It was no longer just facts in a history book but real people, including my ancestors. So I would like to dedicate this letter to Private Tom Andrews.

Michelle Wright

Writer

Dear Boy,

I am writing you this letter in 2014. You are reading it in 1914. I reach back through time and place this letter in your hand – one hundred years fall away and for a second our fingers touch, fleetingly. I can see you standing there in your uniform, kit bag on your shoulder, full of life, half-boy half-man, holding my letter from the future, wonderment in your eyes.

I would like to say to you, don’t be afraid, you will be alright, you will return home once the fighting is done but I do not want to tell you lies, you deserve the truth. However, the truth is hard to hear. Thousands of unlived lives and dreams will lie beneath the battlefields before the war is done.

I would like to say to you that the war you are going to fight ended all wars so that you could march into battle knowing you gave your all, your tomorrow, so that the world would change forever but, alas, the history that stands between your time and my time proves this hope to be false. And the history books to be written in the future, beyond my time into the next one hundred years, will be fat with many pages of more of the same fighting and suffering and senseless killing, I fear.

I would like to say to you that I am sorry for your sacrifice and the life and the years that were needlessly denied to you. And if words were tears then I would fill pages and pages of tender sorrow for you. But in the end, words and tears count for nothing, just another kind of impotence when faced with a broken world where bad things happen to innocent people. But in spite of the futility, I write my words to you and I cry my tears because we have to find a way to stay human in a cruel world. Do you see my tears where the ink runs? For a second we occupy the same time, the same place.

Michelle Wright
Cardiff

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