Wednesday, 12 November 2014

THE FINAL INSPECTION

The following sadly did not reach my email box until today, but I'm including it anyway in our Commemoration this week - "without apology", as the sender says:

THE FINAL INSPECTION

The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.


"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"
 
The soldier squared his shoulders and said:
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint."
 
"I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
 
But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep.
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.
 
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
 
I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.
 
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.
 
There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
 
Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."
 
Author Unknown~

Monday, 10 November 2014

The Politicians' Shame: Remembrance Sunday At The Cenotaph

The appalling hypocrisy of the political leaders who attended the
Remembrance Service at The Cenotaph on Sunday 9 November was inescapable.

Laying their wreaths and bowing their heads in memory of the hundreds of
thousands who so needlessly sacrificed their lives that these politicians
should be free to live, was a repulsive display of blatant and callous
psychopathy.

Having solemnly sworn lifetime oaths of allegiance and service to Britain,
Messrs Cameron, Clegg, Miliband, Major and Blair demonstrated utter
disrespect for the fallen by showing up at the Service in the full public
knowledge that they have wilfully planned, schemed, deceived and surrendered
the very sovereignty, independence, self-determination, freedoms and
security that so many true British people had given their lives to preserve
and protect.  Their sacrifice was an absolute waste and totally in vain.

Because of the outright treason of these five men and their predecessors in
office, Britain has been freely and totally surrendered to the European
dictators that of all those wasted lives fought so vehemently against.

These ‘politicians’ should sacrifice themselves on the altar of integrity,
truth and honesty, pleading forgiveness of all those whose country they have
deliberately stolen and destroyed in their own arrogant self-interests.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

In Remembrance

Now all the youth of England are on fire,
And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies.
Now thrive the armorers, and honor’s thought
Reigns solely in the breast of every man.
They sell the pasture now to buy the horse,
Following the mirror of all Christian kings
With wing├Ęd heels, as English Mercurys.
For now sits Expectation in the air
And hides a sword, from hilts unto the point,
(Henry V, Part II)

Our lads eager for the fight: a different war, but it could apply to WWI, when youngsters flocked to join up. "It'll be over by Christmas"...

The reality:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
(Wilfred Owen)

And memories from WWII, The Shores of Normandy by Jim Radford:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsVQMfxIfks&feature=player_detailpage

But let Henry V have the last words:
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say, 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember├Ęd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England, now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day. (4.3.43) 
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM