“At 11am on 11 November, 1918, the guns of the western front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. The allied armies had driven the German invaders back, having inflicted heavy defeats upon them in the preceding four months. In November the Germans called for an armistice (suspension of fighting) in order to secure a peace settlement. They accepted the allied terms of unconditional surrender.” That, according to the Australian War Memorial is why this day is special. Of course down through the years the name has changed (from Armistice Day to Remembrance Day) and two minutes silence has been shortened to one minute, but hopefully we have not lost the significance. In this “war to end all wars” over 70 million people were mobilised, leaving between 9 and 13 million dead, with as many as a third of them with no known grave.
However, in my preparation for Remembrance Day this Sunday, I was reminded that it is all too easy to see it as just another memorial parade, commemorating another historical event that has little or no relevance today… WRONG! I came across the following quote:
“In war there are no unwounded soldiers.” (Jose Narosky)
or airmen or sailors I should add! On Remembrance Day we pause to remember all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, yet the fact is, as the above quote suggests all those who participate will be affected. Some will be wounded physically, others mentally and some spiritually but because many of those injuries are not obvious they are not treated and so may never heal. The survivors often carried those wounds to their graves as some of the stories in my own family tree would testify. Maybe your experience in a war zone, or in the cleanup of a major natural disaster or terrorist attack has wounded you, then this is a good time to recognise the damage and get some help.
Is there any hope for us? Yes! The Scriptures put it like this:
“We are pressed down on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.
We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.
We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed”
( 2 Cor 4:8-9, NLT)
What makes the difference? Faith! If you need to talk about that, you know where to find me…
Chaplain Ian S Whitley