A Day to Remember and Reflect

Today is Remembrance Sunday, an important day in the life of our local community and of our whole nation.

This morning I will be joining a crowd of hundreds gathering at the War Memorial on Hawkeys Lane. It will be all the more special this morning as last year Remembrance services around the country were cancelled due to the pandemic that was causing havoc last autumn.

Events like today’s parade and service remind us that we are more than just individuals journeying through life on our own, we belong to something bigger, a community, and a country. Today is a day for “we”, not for “I”.

And so we remember.

We call to mind those who served their country, and are no longer with us. Our thoughts naturally turn to those we have known and loved and who now rest in peace.

We call to mind those who have returned from theatres of conflict and still carry the wounds, mental and physical. If they are close enough to us today, we take their hand.

And we also reflect.

Prayers will be said and hymns sung. Their words express a mixture of sorrow and of hope.

One of the most popular hymns at Remembrance Sunday services is “I vow to thee my country”. Its two short verses capture very well the mix of emotions that this day involves. The first verse highlights the love of country that inspires the greatest sacrifice. The second verse looks further ahead, expressing the hope of a world to come that is no longer scarred by war.


I Vow To Thee My Country

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no questions, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.


And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

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