Remembrance Sunday

96 years ago, on the western front during World War 1, Private Cecil Roughton picked a poppy. He sent it to his parents as a,
“Souvenir from a front line trench near Arras, May 1916.”
He survived to old age, as did the carefully pressed poppy. Last year his family gave it to the Royal British LegionThanks to that organization, poppies continue to be a symbol of lives given, lost or damaged by war and the need for support for those affected.

Today in the UK is Remembrance Sunday. Today we remember the worst people do to each other and the best people do for each other. We remember that “the war to end all wars” didn’t; that there have been few days of peace since 11th November 1918; that this year more UK service personnel came home from Afghanistan wounded or dead. And in many places of the world more people will die today as a result of conflicts. More families will grieve.

There’s no war that isn’t horrible. According to UN estimates, around the world today there are about 250,000 child soldiers, some only 9, a 3rd are girls. Most casualties in modern conflicts are civilians, including children.

What a mess the world is in. We could blame people in power. We could blame uneven distribution of resources. We could blame evil individuals or political structures and systems. We could say it's human nature and we can't change that. We could ask, why does God allow dreadful things to happen?

This schoolgirl’s *letter to God says what many feel:
“Dear God, 
I’m writing to complain about the state of the world. I would like to know what you’re going to do about it. Are you still in charge, or have you left us to our own devices? Peace is what the world needs, no more fighting, no more bloodshed…no racism, no prejudice, and most of all no war. Why do you allow people to feel that you can just take over other countries? Why do people feel that other races and religions are inferior to theirs? This is wrong…Now that I’ve given you something to think about, I hope that you will do something about the state of the world. 
Yours sincerely 
Jadie Jones, aged 15, Caerphilly, Glamorgan.” 
If you were God, how would you reply to Jadie?

* schoolgirl letter published in‘Letters of Peace, Pavilion Books 1995 p.77


  1. Beautiful, poignant anecdote about Cecil and his pressed poppy. The human spirit can, and does, rise above the horror of war; but it does get awfully repetitive, having to do it ...
    I find a great deal of numbness in English provincial society, which usually translates as indifference. This wasn't my experience in London or in urban France. Looking back, so few of us got off our backsides and stood against the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
    Maybe there is hope, tho', given the increased emphasis on Remembrance Sunday these days.

    1. Thanks for commenting Minnie. I'm not sure what you mean by numbness - do you mean apathy? As you say, so few of us stood against the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. It's interesting that Remembrance events seem to be increasingly better attended each year and the awareness of it is growing among the young. I pray that this will contribute to more people committing themselves to work for everything that makes for peace including building communities that seek the good of all.


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