The utter waste and total futility of war is something not discussed nearly enough in the modern era.

Things have improved over recent years, with veterans sharing first hand accounts of the true horror of war.

There have also been some excellent depictions of the reality of war in films like 1917, They Shall Not Grow Old and Saving Private Ryan.

These contributions were certainly long overdue. For far too long, so much of the coverage of war has been about sanitisation and glorification.

The sanitisation is revealed in depictions that do not show the true horror of war. People being blown limb from limb.

My own realisation was awoken on trips to Cambodia - seeing the effects of landmines, used in war, maiming men, women and children. Also, reading the account of a squaddie who served in Northern Ireland, describing picking up pieces of his mate who had been blown apart.

Sebastian Faulks' brilliant book Birdsong carries some harrowing descriptions of death and suffering in the trenches of the First World War. One character refers to how if people at home could see the carnage, the war would not continue.

But sanitisation and censorship ensured that people did not know what was going on.

A good helping of jingoistic patriotism helped quell those who might ask questions.

The glorification comes when remembrance ceremonies are at best turned into celebrations if war and at worst recruiting opportunities for the armed forces looking forward to the next conflict.

Wartime heroes are sanctified whilst some of the less savoury actions they undertook are forgotten.

One form this glorification takes is the erection of statues to fallen leaders. A stroll around Whitehall and Parliament Square reveals a series of feted war time leaders.

How many pubs and squares in this country still carry the names of imperialist military leaders of yesteryear?

A process of active remembering of what really went on in the past has begun but there is still a long way to go. Active remembering of war needs to be far more prominent in school syllabuses, which for too long have dwelt in the rarefied world of kings and queens.

It will only be if we really do examine what happened in the past and why that such mistakes can be avoided in the future. War and conflict marks the failure of humanity to resolve its differences in a peaceful way - something to mourn and remember, not celebrate or forget.