We had a wonderful Remembrance Day service at St Iberius Church today with music provided by the Loch Garman Band. Rector Arthur Minion was a wonderfully welcoming and eloquent host. His homily was a fitting tribute to the Irish people who died in both wars. As to why we should still be remembering those who died in wars that happened so long ago he pointed out that both WW1 and WW2 were significant in their scale, their geographical spread and in the use of new technology and science to such devastating effect. He did, ever, go on to say that war continues to tear countries apart and he listed ten major conflicts around the World which have led to the deaths of thousands over the past two years. In passing he mentioned that while close to 60,000 US soldiers died during the Vietnam conflict, twice that number committed suicide subsequently. The horrors of war stretch way beyond the battlefield. Revd Minion’s emotional summing up focused on the devastating effect of war on children – killed, injured, orphaned, scarred for life. Powerful stuff. Following the laying of wreaths at the War Memorial Pulpit LGB’s Anthony Nolan sounded “The Last Post” followed by “The Reveille”. We sang “Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale, Yet will I fear no ill; For Thou art with me, and Thy rod And staff me comfort still” (William Whittingham, 1524-1579). A fine rendition of Elgar’s Nimrod (Enigma Variations) brought us back on an even keel before the band finished with a rallying Onward Christian Soldiers (Martin Rinkart, 1586-1649). We may not all want to “join our happy throng” or make “Hell’s foundation’s quiver” as “Forward into battle see His banners go!”. Fightin’ talk!! I prefer to leave with: “Drop Thy still dews of quietness, Till all our strivings cease; Take from our souls the strain and stress, And let our ordered lives confess The beauty of Thy peace.” (John G. Whittier, 1807-1892). We are all just passing through but occasions like this help us appreciate the journey that bit more.
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