Today, the second Sunday in November. A poignant day in the British calendar. Remembrance Sunday, when pretty much every church has a service of remembrance, including a two-minute at exactly 11 o’clock in the morning. Particularly saddening is to visit even the smallest village in the UK and to see the war memorial there. Even more saddening is to see the same surnames, brothers and cousins, the sons of village, then the year, 1916, 1917, 1942, 1943, 1944. There was even one on the island of Foula, Shetland, a tiny clump of earth in the Atlantic Ocean.
This morning I attended church as usual. Not quite as usual.
- I travelled to church on my mountain bike, helmet camera on. The weather was good. Why not?
- I changed into my Sunday best, including Corps tie and pullover. That Corps tie seems to shrink every year. The pullover covers it up. (Normally I wear smart casual. On Remembrance Sunday, I make the effort.)
- I blu-tacked two notices to advise that we had a 2-minute silence at 11:00. Sadly, some people need spoon-feeding. Last year, a few people came rushing into church during the 2-minute silence. Is it acceptable to rush into a church, anyway, I ask myself. Fortunately the lady who arrived at 10:59 did not take umbrage when I asked her to wait outside till the silence was over.
Today is also by sheer coincidence the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event which is chained together with Remembrance Day.
- WW1 led to:
- WW2, which led to:
- The Cold War, which led to:
- The building of the Wall, 13 August 1961, which eventually was pulled down on
- 9 November 1989
When I was a pad’s brat in the mid-1970’s, our family used to visit the main East German border at a village called Mattierzoll. We once even went up to the Harz Mountains one summer to watch the Grenztruppen der DDR build socialism by reinforcing and upgrading the border.
Remember the war dead, the soldiers and civilians of all sides. To quote Lt Col Tim Collins Iraq eve of battle speech:
If there are casualties of war, then remember that when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day. Allow them dignity in death.
To quote Winston Churchill:
In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Goodwill.
Give thanks for peace in Europe, and give thanks for the Mauerfall and the people who made it happen.
Have a peaceful day, won’t you!