Friday, 11 November 2011

GC, Day 11 - Veterans

There are no words to express my gratitude to the men and women who, over the years, have enlisted in the Armed Forces and offered their lives - and the lives of their families, who have borne so much, from PTSD and shell-shock, to boys on bicycles bringing telegrams to officers walking up to their door - to protect us all. To this day, I can barely watch a Remembrance Day programme without my tears blurring the picture on the screen.

Thank you is all I have, but I offer it from the depths of my heart.

And since my words will not suffice, perhaps the words of one of your erstwhile comrades might:

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.

--Laurence Binyon

Replace 'England' with the name of any country, for this is for all those who have sacrificed for their country - for you are all known to the innermost heart of your own land.

Lest we forget.

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