Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Remembrance Day 2011

On Sunday we in Europe and all over the world stop our day to day concerns, even aromatherapy, and remember the dead of two world wars

We wear poppies to remember that time of disastrous european and world disunion.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

Its a time to reflect for me personally and to remember the memorial chapel at Rugby School in which I prayed and became a christian.  On the walls are comemorated the names of 700 from the school who died in the first war and 450 from the second war.  Remembering that for every one killed 4 were injured or maimed and all were touched and affected by their experiences it is a place which never fails to move me now as it did then. A bronze of a second lieutenant of the Warwickshire Rifles leaning on his rifle seemed to capture the mood of the place.

Some 200 children go through Rugby School a year.  My own children were prepared for public school.   So this toll meant the loss of an entire generation who benefitted from this education morally and materially. In turn they would have benefitted those who they would have served and loved and this was lost too.  When I think of the lives of leadership, love and illumination my wonderful friends of my generation lead as businessmen, sportsmen, politicians, servicemen, husbands, fathers and sons and the benefit I and we received from this education the scale of the sacrifice and loss can be seen.

We Brits are known for our humour and love of life and like all europeans we were prepared to combine and serve in that terrible time.  This was not a people long ago but us, all of us today then resolving our different ambitions not with words but with guns and loss.  Success cannot be measured for long by the losses of others yet for those terrible years it was and no one was able to prevent it or stop it.

We cannot forget the torch the dead lit referred to in the poem and the value the settlement their deaths brought not just for 100 years but for much longer than that.  More fool us if we do.

"mistake not truce for peace, nor compromise from the escape from conflict.  To be released from conflict means that it is over.  The door is open you have left the battleground.  You have not lingered there in cowering hope that it will not return because the guns are stilled an instant and the fear that haunts the place of death is not apparent.  There is no safety in a battleground.  Not one tree left still standing will shelter you."

A course in miracles 

The wars of the people were more terrible than the wars of the kings.  lets not forget that either.


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