Remembrance is an important part of life. Birthdays, anniversary, celebrations like Christmas and Easter hold value for a people who remember.
To forget your wedding anniversary can bring troubling times. To forget the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus is to face life in hopelessness.
Remembrance Day is one of those significant days. November 11 at 11am is a moment to stop and remember.
I have been doing it since my kindergarten days at Cronulla Public School. The bell would ring, the children would gather around the flag and we would remember them.
The “them” were many, and Aussie families suffered significant loss. We forget them to our peril. The loss of memory will be unheeded lessons left behind and thankfulness will be the casualty of our self-indulgent todays.
As I stood in the Armidale Cathedral Park with the assembled and joined with others in the words “Lest we forget”, I was horrified to be told that the site had been vandalised the night before.
What is wrong with our world when dirt is thrown into the mote around the memorial and poppies pulled out?
Anger is a great catalyst for the written word. My hope would be that the vandals might read this article and find truths from Remembrance Day that might change them for the good.
If I am honest, I expect that someone who vandalises a memorial of such importance probably doesn’t have the brains to read or worse, the heart to care.
If they could read, they might start with the poet Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae who wrote:
“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!...”
An intelligent mind and thoughtful heart toward those who gave their lives in the service of our great country understand the poppies between rows of crosses.
True Australians plant a poppy and pin another to the lapel offering thanks for a past worth remembering and issuing a challenge to the less-than-memorable behaviour of the fool.
Amid ignorance and stupidity, let’s remember that the battle to end ignorance and stupidity remains. The real battle for the fool is to repent while for the hurt it is to forgive. May God help us all to remember to be active in both!
Small-minded vandals may have made a mess of the memorable, but memorable they will never be. Just another example of the brokenness and evil in the world that only the truly memorable continue to fight against for the good of all.
Lest I forget, I should also remember the challenges to establish peace between enemies requires the compassion of mercy and grace to forgive. Even to a repentant vandal, forgiveness can be offered, both of which would be memorable – repentance and forgiveness.
Lest we forget, the commander of the God’s army, Jesus Christ, even in death prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Amid ignorance and stupidity, let’s remember that the battle to end ignorance and stupidity remains. The real battle for the fool is to repent while for the hurt it is to forgive.
May God help us all to remember to be active in both!
Thank you to those on council who worked tirelessly to repair the memorial and thanks to the RSL and all involved for the conduct of the ceremony.
Bishop Armidale Anglican Diocese
On and around November 11 each year, the Returned and Services League of Australia sells millions of red poppies for Australians to pin on their lapels.
Proceeds go to league welfare work.
Why a red poppy? The red poppy, the Flanders poppy, was first described as the flower of remembrance by Colonel John McCrae, who was Professor of Medicine at McGill University of Canada before World War I.
Colonel McCrae had served as a gunner in the Boer War, but went to France in World War I as a medical officer with the first Canadian contingent.
The verses were apparently sent anonymously to the English magazine, Punch, which published them under the title "In Flanders' Fields".
Colonel McCrae was wounded in May 1918 and died after three days in a military hospital on the French coast. On the eve of his death he allegedly said to his doctor, "Tell them this. If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep.”
Come home! Come home!
The last post is sounding for you to hear.
All good soldiers know very well there is nothing to fear while they do what is right, and forget all the worries they have met in their duties through the year.
A soldier cannot always be great, but he can be a gentleman and he can be a right good pal to his comrades in his squad.
So all you soldiers listen to this – Deal fair by all and you’ll never be amiss.
Be Brave! Be Just! Be Honest and True Men.
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