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St.Mary's of Weldam


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Remembrance Service - 100 Years


This years Remembrance service was the first without the 'Guard of Honour' from the Bond van Wapenbroeders - Oost Nederland. Instead, for this 100 year Remembrance celebration of small Remembrance memorial had been set up on the lawn in front of our Chapel. 100 Small white Crosses, some with personal remembrances were erected at the base of a larger wooden cross with the Poppie Wreath at its base.


Today's service did start outside with our Chaplain blessing this token of Remembrance followed by a poem said by Philippa by Carolo Ann Duffy, "The wound in time".


In the following service our Chaplain emphesized the importance of this remembrance occasion every year. After his sermon the wreath was laid at the base of the Altar and Arthur did read the poem:


"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".


Our service was supported by the choir: 'The Veluwse Cantorij' and a buglar playing the 'Last Post'.


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My personal thoughts regarding Remembrance Sunday - 100 Years on.


While sitting in the sun, at the far end of our peaceful garden, handling my automatic jigsaw and cutting a hundred Remembrance Crosses for use in this years’ Remembrance Sunday, my mind floated away over the meaning of the occasion we observe every year at St. Mary’s. A day "to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts. This time, on November 11th, we are remembering one hundred years of Armistice.


Preparing the crosses, I thought of all the casualties in WW1 - “the war to end all wars" (described by H.G. Wells. Wells, like many idealists of his time, he hoped that the sheer destructiveness of the First World War, unprecedented in its time, would persuade mankind to abandon war as a means of solving political disputes > Wikipedia). But did it?


Now we know that these expectations or hopes did not really materialize, as just over 20 years later WW2 broke out. Some five years after the capitulation of Nazi-Germany, the Korean War (1950-1953) started, quickly followed by the Vietnam war (1954–75) and in more recent years the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Also, numerous other conflicts that did not get so much attention in other parts of the world smouldered on.


In Europe during the 'Cold War', two opposing Blocs were quite hostile towards each other. NATO and Warsaw Pact were on several occasions close to an armed conflict as well. In a few instances only minutes apart from a nuclear war breakout. Thanks to some bright political and military leaders, this never occurred, so far.


When looking at our crosses, there is a white face, with the ‘Poppy’ and the text “In Remembrance” in which we honour all the lives that have been lost to provide others and us all with freedom and the ability to live in peace. In these crosses, I also remember many Dutch Armed Forces personnel that were killed during the course of their duty home and abroad.


But there is also another side to our Weldam ‘Poppy’, which appears brownish and bears no text. To me, this side symbolises numerous unknown collateral victims that fell during all the conflicts that occurred since November 11th 1918.


© Lub Gringhuis


(for full version see Magazine November 2018 - p.9)