Thank you, Veterans!
Every year on 11/11 at 11:00 in the morning, my school, The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, would gather in the main quadrangle for a service to remember those who had fought in the First and Second World Wars. Hundreds of us would gather for a moment of silence, and to hear moving words of poetry and prose, including the immortal words of John McCrae:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
I cannot imagine the bravery of those young men who went to fight for their country and were willing to give their lives. My own grandfather fought in the Second World War, and I remember completing a school project when I was much younger, on the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, to find out more about it. He allowed me to take his medals into school to show them to my friends, and I was immensely proud of all he had sacrificed to ensure the victory of the allied forces.
As we celebrate Veteran’s Day this weekend, let us be proud of the rich history of our Armed Forces, and the many men and women who have been willing to serve. Let us take time to say thank you to those men and women, and to their families who were willing to sacrifice that we might have freedom. Let us pray for those who are currently deployed, that they would faithfully discharge their duties, be kept safe, and that their families back home would remain strong while they are gone. And let us pray for healing those who continue to be affected by the results of combat, whether physical or psychological.
Thank you, Veterans, for your service to your country and to the whole of the free world!