> What is Remembrance Sunday about? How has it changed over the 90 years since Armistice Day?
These were some of the questions we looked at yesterday.
Remembrance Sunday remains a day of mourning. One day that we have set aside in our year to remember the victims of war, human nature and its consequences. But our thoughts will not be the same as those celebrating the hard fought peace of 1918.
Significant changes include
• The development of international institutions like the United Nations and the EU – great political achievements representing a cooperative relationships instead of the colonialism of the past.
• War has changed and its weapons have changed. Now civilian casualties are far higher. In WW1 civilian casualties were 5% of total casualties. Now that figure is 75%.
• Communications have changed. We now live in the “global village” where “everyone is networked and nobody is in control” – which makes wars far less winnable. As a child of the 50’s I was told how lucky I was that the wolrd was at peace. Now, because of news media and globalisation, we know that there isn’t likely to have been a moment of our human history when we haven’t been fighting one another.
• We know – especially as awareness of post traumatic stress disorder has increased – that, in the words of Jose Narosky “in war there are no unwounded soldiers”.
• We know more about “child soldiers”. Children as young as 8 are involved in conflicts in at least 17 countries – acting as spies, messengers and brandishing rifles.
• We know that there are over 34 million people displaced by war.
These are some of the things that come to mind as “I remember” – the thoughts for my two minute silence. I carry on remembering the “fallen”, those killed, their loved ones, parents and communities. I remember all those who have been on the front line. I remember the civilian casualties, the child soldiers and the refugees. I remember the violence that is part of being human and I remember that we are made in God’s image – and called to pray:
God our refuge and strength,
bring near the day when wars shall cease
and poverty and pain shall end,
that earth may know the peace of heaven
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(the poppy picture was pianted by friend Pam Kelly – member of St Andrew’s Painters’ Group)