The horrors of war are far more ghastly than many of the dangerously romanticised depictions of them all too frequently allow us to believe.

The unbearable suffering caused by bullets and bombs, parents consumed by the grief of losing children, and lives distorted by fear have been features of warfare throughout the ages. But modern warfare, with its vast capacities for the destruction of life is yet more terrible than its ancient, mediaeval and early modern predecessors.

These are things that we are rightly called upon to remember each Remembrance Sunday - and they come flooding back into our minds when we witness the moving tributes to those who fell in the D-Day landings. But the recent D-Day ceremonies have two more messages for those of us who have been lucky enough to inherit the world that they made possible.

The first of these messages is that, though many victories are at best morally equivocal, some do genuinely represent a triumph of good over evil.

I would certainly not want to attempt any eulogy over Plessey, Blenheim or Agincourt though famous victories and fine examples of generalship, it would be difficult to find any very convincing moral defence for them being fought or any very convincing account of the moral worth of the outcome.

But D-Day was different. Here, good did triumph over evil. The defeat of Nazism that D-Day made possible was unequivocally a benefit for mankind.

But the second message is, if anything, deeper and more pertinent to our current circumstances. It is that the fabric of human civilisation is fragile. The awful sequence of catastrophes that led to Nazism and the Second World War - the wholly unnecessary conflict of the First World War, and the appallingly ungenerous treatment of Germany and Austria by the victors in that war - is well known.

But it is easy to forget.

The remembrance of D-Day should serve to remind us that the fragile construction of civilised life can be shattered by ill-conceived and ungenerous attitudes to the conduct of international relations.