When the subject of war comes up and you live in Switzerland, you have to search for something worth showing as a symbol. The Swiss do not fight, they are neutral, but they are prepared. This war memorial in our local town always seemed to be a bit strange to me. A guy with no clothes holding a sword with a helmet. I suppose it symbolises something, but I am not quite sure what. OK, as a brit I suppose I have a bit of a different opinion with a father serving in the World War 2 and a grandfather in World War 1. My dad summed it up. No-one asked us to go, we just went. I know he was glad to come home again. We had no heroes in our family.
I always liked this photo showing Mr. Swiss great uncles and grandfather ready to fight the enemy in the first world war. It was all very new to the Swiss but armed with their swords they were ready to defend their country. During the second world war again they were defending the borders, but it was then rifles. I think the swords were then in the museum.
Every able bodied Swiss is a soldier today. They are called up at the age of 18, go to recruit school for a few months and then serve annually for 3 weeks a year (perhaps more if you are an officer). Eventually you have done your duty and are discharged. I remember son No 2 when he was in the army doing his time.
And here are my family.
Top left son No. 2 when he was a recruit, top right mum and dad on their wedding day (it was 1945 and dad had only just arrived home, hence he only had a uniform to wear) and bottom right dad again when he was in the army. Last but not least my grandfather bottom left. He was in the medical core.