Thursday, 10 November 2011

Armistice Day on an glacier.

Remembering those who have died is always important but even more so if they have died in saving others and securing our future.
I have been remembering an extraordinary armistice day.
I was in Canada, having chosen to do my first trip abroad as a widow.. I had gone on  a tour so that there would be other people around and I had made friends as we travelled over the Rockies from Vancouver.
On November 11 we were on a glacier...fairly high up and were being shown a native American encampment. As we were approaching eleven O clock I needed to be on my own in silence but didn't want to impose this on anyone else so I quietly made my way back to the coach, explaining to the tour guide on en route.
The coach driver said as I climbed on board. "I wondered if any of you Brits would remember what day it is. "
We agreed on a minutes silence at eleven and then looked up as more people started back to the coach. By eleven we were all on board and we held the minutes silence together, around 40 of us.
The tour guide then said"I think Jean might want to say a prayer now."
This shocked me because no one knew that I was then en route to ordination.
Put on the spot I said a short prayer and then the words of a poem floated into my head.

In Flanders field the poppies blow, 
Between our crosses, row on row
That mark our place and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below
We are the Dead, Short days ago
We lived. felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders field.
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders field       Amen

Oddly I was able to say the whole thing without tears.....but afterwards  many tears were spent by all those on the coach who thanked me for remembering.  It was written by John McCrae and is I think beautiful. 
Lest we forget. 
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