This Sunday we stand as a nation in remembrance of those who died in two world wars and all conflicts since. In churches and chapels, at war memorials in cities towns and villages acts of remembrance will be held. Wreaths will be laid by veterans and the young alike in remembrance of those who gave themselves for the sake of the liberty and freedom we often take so much for granted.
It is also a time when we remember those who survived those years and conflicts; having been in the horror and carnage of war they too have their own memories of comrades lost and injured in the service of their country.
In July this year the 100th Anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele, one of the major conflicts of the first world war was commemorated where 325,000 allied and 260,000 German casualties lost their lives. Over 300 of the Welsh regiment fell in battle on the first day of Passchendaele in horrific conditions of heavy rainfall and seas of mud. Passchendaele was part of a war that was to have been the ‘war to end all wars’. Sadly, that was not to be, so much so that the last century saw increasing conflicts. With the continued threat of terrorism and rising tensions in many parts of the world a lasting peace seems as far away as ever; that’s why we also remember those of our armed forces who still serve in many situations of danger in our deeply divided world.
They too will be remembered in the prayers of a nation grateful for their dedication and service of their country. This Sunday we also share the vision of a day when as the Bible says ‘they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’.
Two world wars and every conflict since have meant great sacrifice by some for the sake of others. How true the words of Jesus ‘No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends’ With quiet gratitude and thanksgiving we wear our poppies and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in two world wars and the more recent conflicts. Praying that peace will come to our troubled world and that Jesus the Prince of peace might reign in the hearts of all people. ‘ At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them’