The 11th November provides the nation(s) a chance to pause and reflect upon the very human cost of warfare. But what images are conjured up in that moment of remembrance? Black and white images of ‘going over the top’? Men and women of the military with horrific wounds (either physical or mental) from a more recent war? Family members known only from fading photos or who rarely speak of what they did?
I found myself walking towards Tavistock Square and the Alternative Remembrance Day ceremony organised by our partners in peace, the Peace Pledge Union (PPU). As I walked along the roads around me we closed off. One of the busiest roads in London paused for a minute or two. Confused tourists looked around to see what was going on. Police personnel directed cars elsewhere.
Suddenly a military cry went up and out of the nearby church marched representatives from the military. Then after they had all filed out representatives of the church and local civic and political society formed their own line.
Does this sound familiar? For members and supporters of the Fellowship, Rememberance day can be difficult. Because we wish to lament the presence of Warfare in the world and remember military personnel and civilians killed and maimed during war. It’s important to pause and lament the presence of war and its human price.
That is why we have worked with the PPU to create the White Poppy for Churches pack. Surveys released near to Remembrance Day 2019 indicated a strong interest in broadening the meaning of remembrance. So watch this space for materials for Remembrance Day 2020 and your chance to Rethink Remembrance as a time of lament, memory and saying a true ‘Never Again’.