PROCESSIONAL: Bagpiper: Robert Waller
Presentation of Colours
0 Canada/The Queen
Let us remember with gratitude those who, in the cause of peace and the service
of their fellow men, died for their country in time of war.
Minute of Silence
They shall not grow 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.
"In Flanders Fields" - Marion Bannerman
written by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
CALL & RESPONSE:
ONE We are here to worship Almighty God, whose purposes are good.
ALL: Whose power sustains the world He has made.
ONE: As we give thanks for His great works, we remember those who have livedand died in His service and in the service of others;
ALL: We pray for all who suffer through war and are in need;
ONE: We ask for His help and blessing that we may do His will,
ALL: And that the whole world may acknowledge Him as Lord and King.
PRAYER: Almighty and eternal God, from whose love in Christ we cannot be parted, either by death or life. Hear our prayers and thanksgivings for those whom we remember this day. Fulfill in them the purpose of Your love, and bring us, with them, to Your eternal joy. Let us remember before You, Lord, those who have died for their country in war; those whom we knew, and whose
memory we treasure, and all who have lived and died in the service of others.
Ever-loving God, we remember those whom You have gathered from the storm of war into the peace of Your presence. May that same peace calm our fears, bring justice to all peoples, and establish harmony among the nations.
Together, we pray as Jesus taught us:
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.
ANTHEM: Hymn To The Victims (choir)
SCRIPTURE READING : Matthew 5:1-12
New International Version (NIV)
Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount.
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Hommage to Mr. Norval Blair who just celebrated his 90th birthday and who is a veteran.
High Flight read Mr Rob ireland
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew --
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
— John Gillespie Magee, Jr
A bit of history about Mr Magee :
During the desperate days of the Battle of Britain, hundreds of Americans crossed the border into Canada to enlist with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Knowingly breaking the law, but with the tacit approval of the then still officially neutral United States Government, they volunteered to fight the Nazis.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr., was one such American. Born in Shanghai, China, in 1922 to an English mother and a Scotch-Irish-American father, Magee was 18 years old when he entered flight training. Within the year, he was sent to England and posted to the newly formed No 412 Fighter Squadron, RCAF, which was activated at Digby, England, on 30 June 1941. He was qualified on and flew the Supermarine Spitfire.
Flying fighter sweeps over France and air defense over England against the German Luftwaffe, he rose to the rank of Pilot Officer.
On 3 September 1941, Magee flew a high altitude (30,000 feet) test flight in a newer model of the Spitfire V. As he orbited and climbed upward, he was struck with the inspiration of a poem — "To touch the face of God."
Once back on the ground, he wrote a letter to his parents. In it he commented, "I am enclosing a verse I wrote the other day. It started at 30,000 feet, and was finished soon after I landed." On the back of the letter, he jotted down his poem, 'High Flight.'
Just three months later, on 11 December 1941 (and only three days after the US entered the war), Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., was killed. The Spitfire V he was flying, VZ-H, collided with an Oxford Trainer from Cranwell Airfield flown by one Ernest Aubrey. The mid-air happened over the village of Roxholm which lies between RAF Cranwell and RAF Digby, in the county of Lincolnshire at about 400 feet AGL at 11:30. John was descending in the clouds. At the enquiry a farmer testified that he saw the Spitfire pilot struggle to push back the canopy. The pilot, he said, finally stood up to jump from the plane. John, however, was too close to the ground for his parachute to open. He died instantly. He was 19 years old.
Part of the official letter to his parents read, "Your son's funeral took place at Scopwick Cemetery, near Digby Aerodrome, at 2:30 P.M. on Saturday, 13th December, 1941, the service being conducted by Flight Lieutenant S. K. Belton, the Canadian padre of this Station. He was accorded full Service Honors, the coffin being carried by pilots of his own Squadron."
Offertory Prayer: Lord of all good, we bring these gifts to You. Use them to fulfill Your holy purpose. These gifts are tokens of our love, showing that our whole life is offered to Your will. Amen.
PRAYER: 0 God of truth and justice, we hold before You those whose memory we cherish, and those whose names we will never know. Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this broken world, and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm. Let us be peace-makers. Let us be called the children of God, speaking boldly with moral conviction, to the nation and to the world, building, with God's grace, a new moral order in the world community; and acting now for world peace, an enterprise of justice, an outcome of love. As we honour the past, may we put our faith in Your future; for You are the source of life and hope, now and forever. Amen.
The story is as follows:
The song is of course about the horses sent overseas during WW1 to serve in the various theatres of war. Of the approximately 53000 horses Australia sent overseas during WW1, only one ever returned to Australia after the war. At the end of the war the Anzacs were ordered to get rid of their horses, the authorities did not want them returning to Australia and perhaps bringing in anthrax or TB or suchlike back into the country. Most of the horses were sold or given away, but in Palestine the Light Horsemen refused to give or sell their horses to the Arab population of Palestine, and chose instead to shoot them all. I based the song on an actual Light Horseman called Elijah Conn who had a horse in Palestine called Banjo. Elijah never forgot Banjo and for the rest of his life could not talk about him without tears coming to his eyes.
AS IF HE KNOWS
It’s as if he knows
He’s standing close to me
His breath warm on my sleeve
His head hung low
It’s as if he knows
What the dawn will bring
The end of everything
For my old Banjo
And all along the picket lines beneath the desert sky
The Light Horsemen move amongst their mates to say one last goodbye
And the horses stand so quietly
Row on silent row
It’s as if they know
Time after time
We rode through shot and shell
We rode in and out of Hell
On their strong backs
Time after time
They brought us safely through
By their swift sure hooves
And their brave hearts
Tomorrow we will form up ranks and march down to the quay
And sail back to our loved ones in that dear land across the sea
While our loyal and true companions
Who asked so little and gave so much
Will lie dead in the dust.
For the orders came
No horses to return
We were to abandon them
To be slaves
After all we’d shared
And all that we’d been through
A Nation’s gratitude
Was a dusty grave
For we can’t leave them to the people here, we’d rather see them dead
So each man will take his best mate’s horse with a bullet through the head
For the people here are like their land
Wild and cruel and hard
So Banjo, here’s your reward.
It’s as if he knows, he standing close to me,
His breath warm on my sleeve, his head hung low.
As he if he knew.
Copyright Eric Bogle July 2001
MEDITATION: The Unknown Soldier
THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER
Finding a new way to talk about holidays, celebrations and events that occur year after year can be challenging. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, Easter, about His death and resurrection. But how do you expand and make it interesting? I was struggling to find exactly the right direction to take for this Remembrance Day service. Thank goodness for my wonderful husband, Randy, who said, "Why don't you talk about the Unknown Soldier?" So I thank you, Randy, for my inspiration for today's topic.
Every nation that became great did so at the cost of the individual soldier. On this coming Tuesday, in Ottawa, Washington, London, Paris, Rome, and many other cities around the world, people will honour those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of their country and world peace. Parades will have the most stirring military pageantry, decked with flags and exultant with music, and the focus will be centered about the bodies of unknown soldiers.
Canada didn't have its own Tomb of the Unknown Soldier until 14 years ago. On May 28th, 2000, the remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier who died in the First World War were repatriated from France and, with great ceremony, were buried in a special tomb in front of the National War Memorial in Ottawa. It was declared that, "From this point on, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will become a focal point of commemoration for all
memorial events at the National War Memorial. It will be a memorial in Canada for Canadians. The tomb will be a fitting way to honour the sacrifices on which our freedoms were built."
This project began several years ago at the instigation of the Royal Canadian Legion, who developed the idea as a Millennium project, and it was taken up by the Canadian Government under the lead of Veterans Affairs. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was created to honour the more than 116,000 Canadians who sacrificed their lives in the cause of peace and freedom. Futhermore, the Unknown Soldier represents all Canadians, whether they be navy, army, air force or merchant marine, who died or may die for their country in all conflicts — past, present and future. Little did I know, or even suspect when I started drafting today's talk, that such a terrible and senseless tragedy would take place at that War Memorial. A young soldier, standing guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, senselessly shot to death. A soldier, doing his duty for the country he loved, killed, as was another, just two days prior, a few short miles from here. These two men will be honoured and remembered along with all who have died in service, reminding us that whether on foreign soil or here at home, freedom is never free.
An article was written, that tells the story of an unknown soldier. I don't know who the author of this article is, but this story is so compelling that I felt I must share it with you. The story is told by the unknown soldier himself.
"In April 1917, I died. It was at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. I was just one of the 3,598 killed. The bullet wounds hurt as they ripped jagged holes in my skin and pierced my internal organs. I was only hit in the stomach, nearly cut in half by machine guns, and it took me a whole, seemingly everlasting minute to die, writhing on the ground with my blood pouring all over the mud. This is the only thing I remember. The pain, the agonizing pain. I can't even remember what my name was. Perhaps that is a side effect of dying.
Dying was not like how I expected. It was not white as some people think. It was grey. Swirling grey in front of my eyes, until I flooded into nothingness. And then....I was nowhere. Floating.
I turned and could see my body, mangled and broken, full of bullet holes. An empty corpse, only identified by a bloody Canadian army uniform. And then I forgot. The body below; I didn't know who it was. I didn't know who I was. I just knew that I was rising, and then I was amongst others, like me. The dead.
I am pretty sure I have a body as I am now — I can move around and do all sorts of things. But I still don't know who I am. Others remember. Maybe it's me. Maybe it was my fault I forgot. Perhaps, I think now, perhaps I wanted to forget. Maybe I was a bad person.
And now I watch a body I saw being placed in a tomb at the National War Memorial. I guess that it is me, but I still do not know my name. The body had already been buried in the cemetery at Cabaret Rouge near Souchez in France, I think. But they dug it up and brought it to Ottawa. It laid in state in The Hall Of Honour at the Parliament Building for three days, until now. It's being placed in this new tomb. I have followed this body around whilst I am enjoying being dead. Being nothing. It is great, being nothing; there's no pain, or conscience.
If I was that soldier, I guess I must have killed some people, but right now, that doesn't bother me. Strange. I reckon it's because I am dead. I died, like the ones I slaughtered did. We are quits, finished, done.
I am not sure if I would rather be alive. I would like to have all my memories --family, friends, who I actually was. We even have birth and death days in this place I am in. for I don't know what's it's called, but, because I do not know my name, I am always left out. I have been given a death day, of course, the day I arrived, but because I was floating in nothingness for a seemingly long time, I do not know if that is the actual day.
I can watch what is happening as if through a translucent veil from where ever I am. Through the nothingness as other souls join us silently above the earth. I have even met Napoleon as I float around.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is what they are calling it. A body, brought from France, being laid, to act as a memorial to all those unknown soldiers. The body that I think is mine just so happens to be the lucky one, and has not just been left on the bloody battlefield to rot.
I can hear the cannon firing now, as a mark of respect. The troops march. I stay. Floating down, because you can do that in the nothingness, I come to stand in front of the tomb. People walk through me and pay their respects. I do as well. But not to me: I am not that vain. I pay my respects to all the fallen soldiers. I thank them for all they did — even the German ones, for I know many did not know what the cause they were fighting for was. I have met them. I know.
During my time in the war, I climbed over bodies as they were strewn over barbed wire to protect myself. Once, I even used a dead man as a shield to stop myself from dying, holding him by his bloodied shirt. I retrieved weapons that had been discarded from cold, unfeeling fingers, and used them to kill more.
I am the Unknown Soldier. I do not know my name, or who I was. I know some of what I did during the war, the most recent memories. Sometimes, I regret what I did. I regret taking lives. I am not proud of it, but I cannot take them back. And as I float up into the nothingness for the last time, an image of a boy comes to mind. I do not know who he is, but he is young, with brown hair and intelligent blue eyes. He is kissed on the head by his mother as he marches to join his regiment, a rifle hastily slung over one shoulder. That boy was me, and I am him. I may not have lived for a long time, but I did my duty and that is something I am proud of. Finally, I have been buried; my body is at rest. And now, I am,too. "
To end, I would like to read one of many poems entitled 'The Unknown Soldier.'
You need not ever know my name;
This unknown soldier seeks no fame.
I'm here to bring out thought from you;
May your heart see more than your view.
Canada, we marched with pride,
We gave our life, for you we died.
How well we knew the time might come
When life could sound that final drum.
Please think of us as life moves on;
We tried so hard till that last dawn.
Do let our spirit fill the land,
Pass treasured freedom, hand to hand.
God blessed this country with such love,
Hold in your heart, abundance of
And when you stand before my grave,
Think not of one, but each who gave.
THE KOHIMA EPITAPH:
The words of this epitaph are some of the most moving lines ever written about the fallen. They state very succinctly what it is that each of them gave to his fellow citizens — all of their tomorrows. The epitaph is written on a marker in memory of the Commonwealth Forces who served on Burma from 1941-1945. "When you go home, tell them of us, and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today."
BENEDICTION: God grant to the living, grace; to the departed, rest; to all people, unity and peace; and to us and all God's servants, life everlasting. May the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you all and remain with you always.