“Lest we forget”
Words on the front of the July/August edition of Contact. If you know where they come from, forgive me, but I guess many people – especially the younger you are – will not.
They are repeating words from a poem written by Rudyard Kipling which he composed to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. It is called “Recessional”. It was later sung as a hymn to the tune “Melita” (Eternal Father strong to save) and the phrase “lest we forget” came into common usage after World War One, first across the Commonwealth, but soon becoming linked to Remembrance Day services to this day. The words are often found on war memorials for both groups and individuals.
This year sees the centennial anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. At its beginning it was given the rather unfortunate title: “The war that will end war” after a series of newspaper articles by H.G. Wells which were later published as a book of essays of the same name. Hindsight is a cruel teacher and we now know what folly that title, though well meant, was.
Our churches in this land have been asked to mark, in some way, this important anniversary but not, it must be said, in any jingoistic or sabre-rattling fashion glorifying war. This would be quite inappropriate. Our marking of this anniversary will be about remembering the brave sacrifices made by the many that went cheerily to war not understanding their terrible fate. Theirs was an idealistic age where the real horrors of the front line were, at first, only known by a few. Lacking our ‘instant’ news of today, powered by mobile ‘phone footage and internet connectivity, the sheer gruesomeness of that war remained mostly unreported and misunderstood for a long time.
We will be remembering Ilkeston’s part in that war and Ilkeston’s men (and women) who made the ultimate sacrifice. No community in the land was left untouched and our town also made its own important contribution.
On Sunday August 10th, after a shortened Communion service, we shall be remembering the fallen from that First World War and planting a tree in recognition of the centennial anniversary of the beginning of that conflict and of their sacrifice. Afterwards we shall serve refreshments in the Cantelupe Centre.
If you have correspondence or photographs or medals of loved ones from that time, from your own family, you may like to bring them for others to see and share in the precious memories. Or you may have other things you would like to contribute. Please call the Vicar for more information.
“Lest we forget”.