Sunday, 11 November 2012

We Will Remember Them



If I should die, think only this of me: 
That there's some corner of a foreign field 
That is for ever England. There shall be 
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; 
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, 
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam, 
A body of England's, breathing English air, 
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home. 
 And think, this heart, all evil shed away, 
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less 
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given; 
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day; 
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness, 
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

This is not the sort of thing I would normally post however, Remembrance Sunday is an exceptionally important moment in history. Because on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month 1918, the guns of the First World War fell silent. And at that moment, a peace treaty was signed between the Allies and Germany in a train carriage in the forest of Compiegne. We have celebrated the end of the war every year since, and it's not only about remembering those who died in World War 1 or World War 2, but also remembering those serving now, remembering those who died in recent conflicts also.

Irish Soldiers on the first day of the Somme

Today it is important that we remember those thousands of men who gave their lives in World War 1, each and every man who died to enemy guns be they on the allied side or the German side; we remember those men and women who fought and died in world war 2 - the soldiers, the nurses, the spies; the men, women and children who died in concentration camps; those who fought and died in more recent conflicts - the Boer Wars of the late 1800's and the more recent Afghanistan conflict being just two examples. These people have all died serving their country, and we owe each and every one of them for it.

I for one will always remember, I will remember the roles that both my great (great?) grandfathers played in the first world war. Both men fought in France, both survived the entire four year effort, both even fought at the Somme. I will remember the stories that they told me, and the old world war I tin helmet that my grandfather wore during the Somme with the bullet hole in it. He was shot, and the bullet went straight through the helmet, just centimetres away from the top of his head. Lest we forget...

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written and so poignant.

    ReplyDelete

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