Sunday, November 11, 2007

For the Fallen

Another Remembrance Day, another year of many losses in wars. Remembrance Day is not just about those who died in the two World Wars, but also for those who are engaged in combat now and those who have already fought in conflicts and have returned home, whether in one piece or injured.

To my mind, people can argue all they like about the rights and wrongs of war in general or any particular war, but those in the armed forces who have engaged in combat have done their duty and they deserve to be remembered for that. The fact that people have the right to disagree is because others fought for those freedoms - as the saying goes “freedom is not free” and sometimes it comes at a very heavy personal cost.

Should you wish to offer practical support to those in the armed services, the run up to Christmas is an ideal time to do so. You can send parcels to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to send them some Christmas cheer. Should you also need a reminder of the losses, then you can look here for a list of those who have died in the current conflicts.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

For The Fallen by Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

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.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

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