Music is life. When I come across an artist or band that can produce progressive or unique music I could lock myself in a dark scary room and listen to it for a week and emerge a totally changed human being. Ever since, meaningful music and playing the guitar have been apart of my life, I see most subjects in school from a musical perceptive. I say all this because this year I was able to do something that was very inspirational and personal. The band Pink Floyd is how I fell in love with my passion. The band is in my opinion the most talented group of four guys with each of them excelling with their chosen instruments (David Gilmour is by far my favourite guitarist). The lyrics of primary song writer Roger Waters are incredibly poetic, intelligent thus resulting in making me think and question what the hell I'm actually listening too in many cases. Listening to the lyrics however I always get a sense of someone who was hurt and left alone at a young age.
The band formed when Syd Barrett and Waters met at a young age and instantly connected as both of them had lost their fathers. Although Barrett left due to heavy Drug use the band had been formed and had a foot in the door of the British Psychedelic movement.
We were travelling through the Somme battlefield sector in France when I suddenly realized that Pink Floyd's singer and song writer Roger Water's grandfather, George Henry Waters was buried in Maroeuil British Cemetery which was very close by our tour itinerary. The tour diverted to his cemetery and I was suddenly standing in front his grave. He died on September 14, 1916. He was with the Royal Engineers. What was super crazy about visiting his grave is the backstory. As it is for everyone on the tour that is completing primary evidence research the backstory on each soldier is compelling.
Roger Waters wrote the lyrics for Pink Floyd's The Wall album which some parts of it were inspired by the death of his father in the Second World War in Italy. Roger Waters father, Eric Fletcher, was killed when he was only four years of age. This, coincidentally, was the same age when Eric's father George was killed in the Great War. The lyrics describe the challenges of a boy losing his father and the emptiness of not having a father and the bitterness toward Britain for taking his father.
Standing at the grave I felt surreal. I was standing in the presence of crushing inspiration and in some cases it was like the beginning of sorrow for the Waters' family for the next three generations. Many people are opposed to asking the "What if...?" question. In this scenario I was almost left with nothing but a big "What if...?". What if Waters had never connected with Barrett and thus not creating Pink Floyd? It breaks my heart that no matter how successful albums like The Wall or Dark Side of the Moon are, nothing can fill that hole in Roger's heart that was not filled by fond memories spent with his father. This is a prime example of how war not only robs men of their lives but it also robs sons and daughters of their dads. This is a prime example of how war is hell for everyone. My heart goes out to you Roger. A snapshot in a family album was not enough for you.
Ben Seward, High school student
Smiths Falls, Ontario