We Will Remember Them

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.

Above is the 4th stanza of “For the Fallen”, a poem by Laurence Binyon, written in September 1914, early in World War 1, written in response to the early casualties in the war, but long before the real horror of what the western front was to become was likely known or understood by most. This stanza has become a part of many war memorials, cenotaphs, and ceremonies of remembrance since then.

Remembrance Day is important, for many reasons, including for me, remembering my Great Grandfather who was fortunate to be one of those who came home from World War 1. I do not see it as a celebration of war, war is a terrible thing and should not be celebrated, but it must be commemorated and remembered. To me, Remembrance Day is an opportunity to thank those who have accepted the risk of being sent to fight and possibly die by serving in the armed forces, and an annual reminder of what can happen and the waste of life when we allow ourselves to reach the point where violence becomes an “answer” to our problems rather than trying to work together. There is so much anger and hatred sometimes when you watch the news, its easy to forget we can be good and work together.

Today, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, please take a moment and reflect on those you love and have lost, whatever the reason, and lets work together to make the world a better place for us all, so that no one else ever has to have their names added to a memorial to those killed in fighting.

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 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.

Laurence Binyon
Originally Published: The London Times (1914)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s