It’s that time of year again when we look back and remember those who gave so much to enable us to be where we are today. When we were children, Dad always made us watch the Memorial service. On a black and white TV, I recollect grainy images of old men and women walking solemnly past the Cenotaph, and Dad telling us that we had to be very grateful because they had been through so much to give us freedom… and I didn’t really know what he meant by freedom, just knew it must be important.
Dad was in the Navy at the end of WW2 and spoke, with great warmth, of the comradeship and spirit that was so much a part of that time. My brother was in the RAF, posted abroad and even briefly in Ireland and he also refers to the sense of working closely together to a common purpose.
Another memory comes back, of a man called Alan, who ran the sweetshop in Southport near our Nana’s. His face was dreadfully scarred from burns he had suffered in a fighter plane crash in WW2. We kids were scared of him because he looked so different – and yet he was such a kind man and it must have been very difficult for him to be always having people shy away when they saw his injuries.
The famous verse that’s often read at memorial services and seen on gravestones throughout the world, was written by a Lancastrian called Laurence Binyon. It’s from a poem entitled ‘For The Fallen’
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”
The past has a lot to share with us. In these days of fast food, instant gratification and the quick fix – it is worth remembering that some things are worth fighting for, take longer to achieve, but are so worth it all in the long run…