The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

Reflection on Remembrance Sunday.

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“They shall grow not 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.”

This Remembrance Day is particularly poignant as the politicians have finally decided to withdraw the remainder of our military forces from Afghanistan where they have been on active service for the past thirteen years and suffered losses of 453 dead and countless badly wounded during this tour of duty. The question in all or minds is - have we won a great victory over the Taliban forces or was this whole episode yet another political disaster, with the country being left as much unstable now, as it was thirteen years ago? On this Remembrance Day our thoughts and prayers are with the family of all those servicemen and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in serving their country.

On a personal note, Remembrance Sunday has a significant meaning for me also, as my father was killed in the Second World War. He was serving as an engineer in the merchant navy on the Russian convoys, when his ship was sunk by a u-boat. My mother told us that there were no survivors, but about three years ago I entered the name of my father’s ship on Google and was amazed to learn that there were in fact five survivors who were rescued by an American destroyer, but he wasn’t one of them unfortunately. Then I also found out that the u-boat captain responsible for my father’s death re-joined the German navy a few years after the war ended and rose to the rank of admiral and served for a time with the N.A.T.O. forces as a naval advisor.
This generation knows all about the pain and suffering that war brings, but we must make sure that our own children – the next generation, understands why Remembrance Day is so important to us all.


Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow; I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripening grain; I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the mornings hush; I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight, I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there I did not die.
I am with the risen Lord.

When you go home, tell them of us and say,
“For your tomorrow, we gave our today.”

Published Fri 7th Nov 2014 12:50:28

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