Posts Tagged ‘Armistice Day’

St Mark’s Church Armistice Day Vigil

November 10, 2018

I had looked in St Mark’s Church earlier on in the day for a World War One window which had been restored.

I could not find.

Passing by a few hours later, now dark, a light on, the church still open.

St Mark’s Church open, a vigil to mark Armistice Day.

I quietly walked around the church. I still could not find the window.

I remained a little while in silent contemplation. I thought of the horror of those souls who died in the trenches.

I wished to walk back down the side aisle to light a candle, but reluctant to disturb those in the church.

The First World War did not end at eleven o’clock on 11 November 1918 one hundred years ago. That was when an Armistice was agreed, a ceasefire, the day the guns fell silent.

Peace was not agreed until the following year.

Exacting reparations were imposed on Germany. Keynes warned against but he was ignored. This led to the Second World War.

What we see today in Europe, in the Middle East, is unfinished business from WWI.

No lessons have been learnt.

Greece dared challenge the EU. A vassal state for daring to challenge the EU is being destroyed to serve as a warning to other vassal states.

WWI was the first democratised war, no family was left untouched, unlike the Boer War. It was the first industrialised war. Cavalry charges of little use against machines guns and barbed wire, the first use of tanks.

How it affected communities was brought home to me this summer in a church in Arundel. In the pews, silhouettes of the fallen.

New injuries. In the Boer war, wounds did not become infected. In the mud of the trenches, wounds became infected

Not all who died died in action. Many were unfairly executed for cowardice.

There are no survivors left from WWI. Soon their children will also be lost to us.

Memories fade.

BBC, in a ground breaking work, collected the living memories of those who lived through WWI for a series marking 50 years since WWI.

My grandfather served in the trenches in France but he never talked about it, other than to complain it destroyed his health.

Did the veterans not talk about their experience because of the horrors it brought back, or because no one wished to listen?

Uncle Albert of the Trotter family in Only Fools and Horses told to shut up each time he tried to recount his wartime experience.

International Bomber Command Centre, in a race against time, has recorded and archived memories of veterans of WWII Bomber Command.

British are obsessed with the two world wars. Eighty per cent of the books on the two world wars are in English.

When veterans of Bomber Command turn up at an event people wish to talk to them, ask for their books to be signed, even though they are not the authors.

£45 million is raised by Poppy Day Appeal. To what end?

Those homeless on the street with serious mental problems are too often ex-service men who can no longer cope with modern life. Do we commemorate the dead and ignore the living? This was raised by Aaron Bastani, who was then condemned for doing so.

The First World War was called The Great War, the war to end all wars. By the 1930s this was being questioned, as the nation prepared for yet another war. 

In 1939 there was no commemoration of Armistice Day.

UK is built on a war economy. Weapons are supplied to the world’s most repressive regimes.

UK arms and provides military support to Saudi Arabia. A corrupt Islamic regime no different to ISIS, that is carrying out genocide in Yemen, that degrades women, that beheads its critics, that killed and cut up a journalist who walked into a Saudi Embassy in Turkey.

Tommies fought in the mud of the trenches. Donald Trump could not be bothered to attend a ceremony at an American War Graves Cemetery because of a little drizzle.

Did the fallen die for nothing?

On Armistice Day our thoughts turn to those who died in two world wars to liberate Europe from tyranny.

A decade ago, 60% of countries across the world were democracies. That figure is down to 40%.

Two weeks ago Greeks marked Oxi Day, the day at the start of WWII when they said no to Fascism. They paid a very heavy price. Two years ago they voted Oxi in a referendum, to then be be betrayed by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

We have a Europe in chains, vassal states of the EU.

Across Europe we have a rise of Fascism as a direct response to the EU.

Armistice Day should never be about poppies, red or white, or even solemn reflection on those who died, and in the wars and conflicts of today, those who die are not only soldiers, combatants, they are civilians, innocent civilians who are not even party to the conflict.

We must question the wars, even more important question who is profiteering from the wars.

It is sickening that British Legion partners with war profiteers British Aerospace.

In Remembrance‏

November 11, 2011

On Armistice Day, remember those who gave their lives for freedom; remember too those who devote their lives to reconciliation

As many of you will know, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918, Armistice was signed on the Great War; the war that was to have ended all wars.

However since then, over 100 million people have died in armed conflict around the world, or by disease and famine brought about directly by the privations of war.

At 11am today, many of us will take a pause from our usual busyness to remember with gratitude those who gave their lives for the freedoms we now enjoy. The terrible reality is that most of those 100 million souls did not give their lives for noble freedom, but for myriad other reasons; largely the folly and greed of their fellow man.

We have seen over-eager military intervention for political gain. Conversely, we have seen a deplorable lack of intervention when prompt, decisive action could have headed tragedy off at the pass. But most of all, we have seen rhetoric ramping up violence in place of dialogue that would have defused tension.

In Baghdad, where we work, a good month is one in which merely 150 civilians lose their lives to sectarian violence. A year ago on October 31, five militiamen stormed the Syrian Catholic church during the Sunday service, terrorised them in unimaginable ways for four hours, before detonating their suicide vests, leaving 48 worshipers dead.

In the months that followed we witnessed a marked increase in violence against the Christian minority in Iraq. Pipe bombs were planted outside front doors. Sticky bombs were placed under their cars. Sameh was head of security at St George’s church. He is a Muslim but was targeted because his job is to protect our church. He survived the car bomb, but his leg was blown off above the knee.

At least 120 Christians died in those two months, for no other reason than for their faith.

Blessed are the peacemakers

But then it all changed. Working with the most senior religious leaders in Iraq, we convened a three day dialogue in Copenhagen which resulted in a joint Sunni/Shia declaration, which was then read out in mosques across Iraq. Through our work, a declaration that: “The Christian community is the root of Iraq” was heard.

The result of this declaration? Violence against the Christian minority stopped that very day. With a few sad exceptions, the agreement holds

Now, we at the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East make no claim to possess a panacea for all the world’s ills. But it is our experience that carefully mediated dialogue can make the world of difference in de-escalating conflict.

We also know this; the only way to make a difference in these seemingly intractable conflicts is by being as committed to peace as the suicide bombers are to their cause. What a difference it would make if the international community were to devote the resources currently spent on waging war to building peace.

So as you pause at the 11th hour on Friday, spare a prayer for the peacemakers. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

— With every blessing, Peter Marsden FRRME Director

Taken from FRRME newsletter for Armistice Day.

Two minute silence observed at St Paul’s in-the-Camp

Two minute silence observed at St Paul’s in-the-Camp

November 11, 2011
making the poppy banner at St Paul's in-the-Camp

making the poppy banner at St Paul's in-the-Camp

Two minute silence observed at St Paul's in-the-Camp

Two minute silence observed at St Paul's in-the-Camp

Red lips are not so red As the stained stones kissed by the English dead. — Wilfred Owen (war poet) Each brave soldier – never forgotten

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place. — J McCrae

On this armistice day we should mourn all the war dead, the senseless loss of life and destruction, the tragedies of Afghanistan and Iraq. — Jeremy Corbyn MP

On Armistice Day, remember those who gave their lives for freedom; remember too those who devote their lives to reconciliation. — Peter Marsden FRRME Director

We must never forget those killed in our name, we must never forget those who challenge war choosing to promote peace in our name. Amen. — John Cooper

Remember all that garbage in the mainstream media that the camp had to be cleared by Remembrance Day? These pictures say it all.

I always feel slightly queezy at wearing a red poppy. Its true meaning is the spilt blood in the fields of France, but sadly it also gets hijacked to represent nationalism, jingoism, the glorification of war. Things it was never meant to be. Today we had the crass comment from the Secretary of State for Defence saying wearing a red poppy showed support for the war in Afghanistan!

There is also a white poppy for peace.

We should respect those who wear white or red popies, the choice is theirs, not ours to dictate.

Today I met a man who was selling white and red poppies, something I have never seen before.

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month we observe a two minutes silence for those who have fallen in war.

Pause for thought: red and white poppies
Occupy London to mark Remembrance weekend
Occupy London protesters ‘will not obstruct remembrance events’
Armistice Day marked by defence secretary in Afghanistan
How the Cenotaph and red poppies became symbols of war
In Remembrance‏