…….I always take time out for this day. No matter what is happening in my life I always remember the war dead. They gave their lives for us in the First World War and then in the Second World War, and continue to do so now in countries such as Afghanistan.
I refuse to get drawn into the political or religious rights or wrongs of this issue. I have the utmost respect for the armed forces and am deeply grateful for all they sacrifice. It doesn’t matter to me that they know what they are getting into, the horrors they must have witnessed doesn’t even bear thinking about. Those who go into battle lay their lives on the line for us, for our freedom – and yes, I am aware that there are those who say Afghanistan is all for oil, or America etc. But to me it is about freedom, that is more important than anything else, the right to be free.
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 lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
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.
We Shall Keep the Faith
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Every night, at 8pm at the Menin Gate memorial, Ypres, Belgium, this ceremony is performed in honour of those who gave their lives. This ceremony has been performed every night since July 2nd 1928 – during WWII it was performed in the UK.