I will remember… but not just today

When I was younger I was a part of the Girls Brigade and as such I was involved with their marching band, I played the side drum, and it was in this roll that I had the honor of leading the Remembrance Sunday Parade through the little village that I lived in.

I will admit as a child it wasn’t as much of an honor. It was cold… I had to wear the most unflattering skirt.. and the sound system at the cenotaph never really worked.

But through the years, as I grew up I started to understand more. As I become more aware of the sacrifice that was made by so many, suddenly taking a few hours out of my day, one cold, often wet, Sunday a year was asking very little.

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.

If you have been to as many services as me you will know this verse by heart. But today I want to ask if you have ever really heard it? I fear this is one of those verses that is rolled out so often that the real meaning may be lost on you…

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old…

Let’s consider that for a moment. They shall grow not old. I’ll say it again “They shall not grow old”. That’s it. Their lives are over. They have no tomorrow, no future. One moment they were there…a father… a son… a child… the next they were not. Cut down. Killed. For what? Because they were paid to be there? Because someone had to? Because they were forced? Because they volunteered? Because they were shamed into it?

Regardless of the reason they made the ultimate sacrifice. Regardless of your political views. People died. Innocent people died… if that can’t make you spare a few moments out of your day….

Another poem that I always hear at this time is

When you go home, tell them of us and say…. For their tomorrow, we gave our today. 

Then and now people are dying as a result of War. Men and Women I have never met are putting their lives on the line, and are dying for me and for you. Like it or not. Agree with the ‘fight’ or not it doesn’t matter. People are dying, on both sides, and for that we should feel ashamed.

As a child I asked my parents, why the war was known as a “World War I/Great War” and I was given the answer “because it was so horrific people never imagined it could happen again.” Yet it did. Even as an adult I can’t get my head around the fact that someone who was in the trenches of World War I could be involved, never mine cause,  World War II…

We still haven’t learnt. We still fight. We still send people off to die.

I am not going to turn this political. Today, if ever there was a day for it, we should not be looking for balme or political scoring. Today we should come together to remember. Together we should unite, regardless of backgrounds, race, religion… we as a country should unite and say

We will remember them.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

And perhaps, perhaps, we should mean it.