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A Church and Cenotpah Service
- by Rev. Richard J. Fairchild -

NOTES -- Canada celebrates Armistice Day or Remembrance Day on 
November 11th.  The Following Service presupposes a couple of things 
- the first being that a service is held in a church with the full 
cooperation of the members of the Royal Canadian Legion (who provide 
a piper and a bugle player - a colour party - and a reader) and the 
second being the fact that in our parish we then are able to go 
immediately out of the church to the cenotaph which is  next door 
to the church for the laying of wreathes.

                      CHURCH SERVICE

COLOUR PARADE (Processional with flags etc)

WELCOME   - The Lord Be With You...

     - Loving God, as we gather here today our hearts are full
     of memories of friends and comrades who served under arms
     in the great wars of this century.  We come to remember
     those who fell in battle and those who, while they did
     not die, offered their bodies, minds, hearts, and
     energies to fighting for a better world.  We ask Lord
     that you would grace us with your presence, that you
     would help us in our pain, and that you would hear our
     prayers and have regard for our thoughts this day.  Bless
     us - and bless all those who gave the best of themselves
     for our country - we ask it in Jesus' name.  AMEN

HYMN: O God, Our Help In Ages Past  -- Red 133

I would like to read a couple of passages from the scriptures
today: The first from Psalm 77 in which the writer, who is
trouble, remembers how God saved the people of Israel from the
army of Pharaoh and takes strength from that memory....  

The second reading is the Book of Revelation in the 11th
Chapter and concerns the coming of the Kingdom of God  ....

Here today to remember and honour those who fought in the
great wars, to remember what it was like, who was with us, and
who did not come back.

We have some things To Remember to Today --- that is what the
day is about.
My Father was in the Navy during the last war - he served on
the HMCS Athabaskan
     He was the youngest man aboard one Christmas
     so he was made Captain of the day,
     later - the ship was sunk in a major action off France
     and my Dad ended up in a POW camp for airmen.

I am 38 years old now, and that is almost all I know about my
Father's service during the War,

Some things are hard to talk about it - even when you remember
them.  I think most of you may well be the same.

When planning this service down at the Legion in Aylmer the
men I was with did talk a bit about their experiences during
the war... what they talked about was the cow that had been
stolen from an officer and eaten by the enlisted men,
     they talked about the food that they had to eat and how
     it was different from what the Americans had,
          they talked about the practical joke that had been
          pulled on a man.
Aside from these things - little was said about the war.
What they really remembered best - they did not speak of.

My father remembered and talked about being captain for a day,
and he remembered and talked about writing letters on the
Toilet paper that came in the Red Cross packages,

But he has only ever talked once or twice about how the
forward gun on his ship was blown away - a gun he had manned
until a few short days before when his buddy on the stern gun
asked to change stations with him...

He has only ever talked once that I can recall about how his
ship sank and how a third of the men perished in the water
which could not put out the fire of their burns.

It is hard to really talk about the details of what happened,
the real costs:
     how your comrades died,
          how your parents, your brothers or sisters, your
          friends paid the costs of war,
               and how your own minds and hearts were
               affected and never again quite the same.

Our most important memories for the most part are silent ones,
ones that we do not talk about because of the pain in them...
and because they are almost impossible to share with anyone
who has not been there with you.

But the memories are there,
     and you do remember, mostly in silence,
          and sometimes aloud - when the mood is right....

It is not necessary that you share the memories you have aloud
with us, but it is important that we who were not there
understand just what was done for us.

It is important too that you who were there, those of you who
fought, and those of you who served here while friends died
across the seas feel that all that happened was worth while,
that it made a difference, and that those who sacrificed so
much, are honoured and rewarded.

It is ever the way that in times of peace soldiers and sailors
and airmen are not well appreciated,
     but this day we who have no comprehension of just what it
     was like all those years ago, do know what happened,
          we realize that a great tyranny was ended, that as
the book of revelation puts it, the time for destroying those
who destroy the earth had come.

We know that there was cost,
and we do honour today those who served,
and those who died, for us and for the country we live in.
The scriptures call us all to look at the examples of the
faithful, to honour them by remembering them and what they
did, and to be more like them - to keep faith with them
to hold high the torch they carried.

The scriptures we heard today call us all to remember that the
good will be rewarded, that those who have made the ultimate
sacrifice will be repaid.

We are here to remember,
     and it is hard to talk about what we remember
          but remember we do, both those of you who were
there, and those of us who were not.

Let us pray that our dead will continue to be honoured and
that we, and all people, may be able to hold high the torch
that they can no longer carry.

     - We remember Lord, we remember: we remember ships tossed
     in the air by explosions, we remember men, our friends,
     falling beside us.... we remember telegrams coming to the
     doors of our neighbours, husbands taken from our arms
     never to return; sons whom we feared for every day.  We
     remember a lot, we remember....
     - Loving Father - help us in our memories - ease us in
     the pain of them, without causing us to forget.
     - Lord God - we remember the costs, remind us too of the
     victory - of what was won by our comrades and by fellow
     - And finally Lord God - be with all those who are facing
     war this day - our men and woman at sea and on land and
     in the air in the mid-east; and be with the rulers of
     this world and all the world's citizens, that we may
     learn and live the way of peace with justice, we ask it
     Jesus' name - AMEN

ANTHEM: O Canada 


* COLOUR PARADE RECESSIONAL (depart for Cenotaph)

                         AT CENOTAPH


     Hear again these words and think of them about whom they
     were written:

     In Flanders Field, 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 Flander's fields....

Let us pray together: OUR FATHER....

     The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face
     to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift
     up his countenance upon you and give you peace.  AMEN

copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild, 1996 - 2005
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.

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