Saturday, 11 November 2006

We Will Remember Them

Went to Riverside Park for the 11am part of the Remembrance Day observance today. It always moves me. I love the ugly helicopter that flies over and drops poppies. I love the uniforms (I'm sorry, I prefer the Brits', although the Canadian Afghanistan vets in their desert colours looked cool). I appreciated that the prayers were decidedly and unapologetically Christian. It was good that the crowd applauded the troops and vets as they marched away from the ceremony...the first time I've experienced that.

I go to honour my grandfather who was at Gallipoli and Ypres in World War I. I go to honour my father-in-law who was a Monte Cassino with the NZ Artillery, Jude's Uncle Bob, another Kiwi, killed on a bombing raid over Germany...so far from home...and my father, also a Kiwi, who arrived in the UK too late to fight, but who went and, as a result, met my mother while training in Alberta.

I go also to honour the civilians who suffered and died.

They are not all heroes, just ordinary folk like you and I who were carried away by forces and circumstances too sweeping and huge to manage, comprehend or avoid.

Great tragedy in the midst of which the best and worst of the human condition is experienced.

Lord, have mercy on us all, but especially on our people swept into harm's way by the great current affairs of global politics to places like Afghanistan; on their families and those who have already lost loved ones.