The 1914-18 First World War was heralded as the “war to end all wars”. Sadly it wasn’t and just 21 years later the Second World War began. Subsequently there have been many wars some small and some much bigger and the quest for peace continues.
Today we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives for their countries. We particularly think of those who have died recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. We should not only remember and pray for those who died for our country and all those who fought alongside us. We also need to remember and pray all those who died on the opposing side......they too are God’s children.
FOR THE FALLEN
BY ROBERT LAWRENCE BINYON
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 condemn.
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.
By the 21st September 1914, when England was already suffering appalling casualties in France and Belgium, the Times Newspaper published Binyon's poem, 'The Fallen'. Binyon had written it in despair over the mounting casualty figures. The poem became widely popular in England and also in Australia and New Zealand. Binyon wrote the poem while he was employed at the British Museum, it would not be until later, in 1916, that Binyon would finally go to the Western Front to serve as a hospital orderly and witness the carnage personally.Binyon returned from the war and its horrors to work once again for the British Museum. He died in 1943.