One hundred years ago men all along the Somme front line woke to the summer sun and prepared letters and last thoughts before going into battle. Many were confident and assured, although, despite artillery bombardments on German lines giving weight to commanders' assurances, many waited in trepidation at "going over the top".

Their trepidation was well placed as the darkest day of British military history dawned in contrast to the bright glow on French farmlands. Beyond a nation's grief it was a symbolic catastrophe of civilisation

The Western Front Associations called on the public to attend their local Commonwealth War Graves and blow a whistle (three short blasts) in remembrance at 7.30am. What should have followed from that national rallying call is a thunderous noise of whistles followed by lull and quiet peace of the morning in respectful and reverent silence.

What will follow is more likely to be isolated but deeply respectful acts of remembrance. The limited numbers attending commemoration events reflects that the world has moved on.

As the quote says: "People Sleep Peacefully in Their Beds at Night Only Because Rough Men Stand Ready to Do Violence on Their Behalf."

Much of the world will sleep blissfully unaware if unbothered by the major commemoration taking place. And why should they bother? They owe nothing to the generation slain in 1916, don't they?

The truth is, that generation were not rough men. They were a cross-societal representation of European and international society. They were not warmongers. And yet they laid down their lives in a war whose sequence of events forged the world we know today (to say they saved our world would be an over representation). They are a lost generation.

Twenty thousand died on the first day of the Somme, 40,000 were injured, many in the first hour of battle.

If "war is politics by other means" then, the calm of peace should be a reflective educator by direct means. Sadly, conflict and the peace that follows have not educated. Not only do we see apathy towards remembrance, but a lack of collegiality counteracting conflict.

The events of the last few weeks have seen harsh words exchanged, attacks happen and cooperation break down. The entity we are about to leave provided stability and prevented world war. Whilst it can be argued as to whether it's extended power corrupted, the words exchanged since democratic voting are a indictment of the society democracy aims to achieve. Last we forget? First, let's start to remember.

Neil McLennan is a former history teacher, Past President of the Scottish Association of History Teachers and chairs the Wilfred Owen 1917-2017 Committee.