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Saturday, 10 November 2012

Taking a Stand

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Two days ago I discovered that the local Scouts were not going to attend the Remembrance Sunday parade this year. I was more than a little bit upset about this and not being one to let things slide, I took the Scout leaders to task and reminded them of the importance of Remembrance Sunday and the crucial role the Scouts play in our community.

Last night the Scouts were told that they would be parading on Sunday.

I’m sure some of you will be thinking; ‘well done John’, but there will also be those that disagree with what I did probably thinking something along the lines of ‘busy body, should leave people to get on with living their own lives’. Whichever camp you belong to I would encourage you to attend remembrance Sunday tomorrow.

The rest of this post lays out why I believe we should attend, a belief clearly held by John Bailey who wrote the poem with which I close the post.

Laurance Binyon famously wrote the poem ‘For the fallen’ the fourth verse of which is frequently used in Remembrance services, I will base my thoughts on this verse;

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.

Unfortunately what too many of us forget is that many of the soldiers and civilians, physically or mentally injured in war will grow old. Many of them bearing horrific mental and physical scars.

These people, their relatives and supporters, spend years living with the aftermath of war. Unfortunately, for many once the obvious physical injuries have been treated the support dries up, for all of these people the injured and those that support them, age will weary them.

All too often combatants are condemned, criticised in the cold light of day for decisions made by our Civilian Political Leadership who ordered our forces to war.

As if taking the blame for the decisions of others is not bad enough they are also condemned for decisions they make when they were operating under incredible pressures often when they are in fear of their lives or the lives of those they protect.

What most don’t consider is that often the severest condemnations dwell, hidden, in the minds of the service personnel themselves.

Next time you are enjoying the going down of the sun, or when you rise in the morning of a beautiful new day, Please give a thought not just to the fallen, but those that survived, and those who place themselves at risk on your behalf today.

The following poem, by John Bailey provides a more eloquent way of asking you to attend a remembrance day service near you;

Taking a Stand - John Bailey

I ask you to stand with me
For both the injured and the lost
I ask you to keep count with me
Of all the wars and what they cost
I ask you to be silent with me
Quietly grateful for our lot
As I expect you're as thankful as me
For the health and life we've got
I ask that you wish them well with me
All those still risking their all
And I ask that you remember with me
The names of those that fall
I expect that you are proud like me
Of this great nation of ours too
So enjoying all its freedoms like me
Support those upholding them for you
I hope that you are hopeful like me
That we'll soon bring an end to wars
So you'll have to stand no more with me
And mourning families no different from yours
'Til then be thankful you can stand with me
Thinking of those who now cannot
For standing here today with me
At least we show they're not forgot

John Carré Buchanan
10 November 2012

2 comments:

  1. So much truth spoken. And you did good.

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  2. John, thank you for writing this and for reminding the local Scout leaders about the meaning of 'Remembrance Day.' 'Lest we forget,' means that there's an inherent danger in forgetting about the tragic events of the past. To do so can condemn people to repeat those mistakes in the future. We are supposed to remember history and learn from it. World War I, also known as, 'the Great War,' was called, 'the war to end all wars.' Sadly, mankind doesn't appear to have learned much from the lessons taught by that conflict because, today, instead of working towards a peaceful coexistence, enmity simmers and threatens to erupt in different areas of the world, particularly in the Middle East. This means that people of goodwill should be especially vigilant about ensuring that the lessons of the past are continually borne in mind.

    The Scout leaders in your area appear to have been either blissfully ignorant or callously insensitive to the sacrifices made by the men engaged in that brutally horrific war - a war which ended on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month: November 11, 1918. Every year, on this date, we remember the day the agreement was signed to end World War I. We also honour the memory of those who suffered and sacrificed so much to enable us to continue living in freedom and peace. I am the granddaughter of one of those soldiers. My grandfather was a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I. John, I applaud you for 'taking a stand.' Lest we forget.

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I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.