Remembrance Sunday: 1918-2018
Lest We Forget
In this one hundredth commemorative year of the end of the First World War, as we prepare for Remembrance Sunday, there are many opportunities to reflect on what this means to us in our daily lives. In Kingham, large poppies have been pinned to telegraph (telephone!) poles around the village with the names of local men who died for their country written on them. These have been erected near the place where they lived.
The village would have looked very different 100 years ago, fewer houses and certainly fewer cars. However, many of the names on the poppies are names still known within the village. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren still live here sometimes in houses that the soldiers themselves had been brought up in and on land that they too had farmed. It is this connection through history, the deep rooted sense of place that is so valuable in rural communities today.
St Andrews Church will host the Service on Remembrance Sunday commemorating the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the Armistice brought peace in Europe. On Sunday many elements of village life will play a part in that remembrance. The brownies and guides will be on parade, as well as a CCF representation from Kingham Hill School and a strong turnout always plays a part from the British Legion who often host refreshments after the service.
Many people make a special effort to come to church to pay their respects and mark this very special day of recognition for armed forces past and present.
For us at Kingham Lodge there is extra poignancy because a member of our family serves in the Royal Regiment of Scotland. Alastair gave a talk at Kitebrook School this week about what Remembrance means to him, thinking about men he has served with who have been killed in action as well as the many that have gone before him in previous wars.
He gave the children homework, to speak with their families and find out the story of one person involved in a war. There were not just soldiers and pilots of course, there was the medical core, engineers, munitions workers, code breakers, those on the home front and much more.
Afterwards, the children built a sandbag wall to hold their poppies of remembrance so that each and every one of them could make an individual act of remembrance.
This link with the young is so important to keep alive an understanding of the sacrifices that are made in war and the importance of always working for peace which can be learnt at a young, local level, ready to be applied to the larger scale adult world.
Why The Poppy?
In 1915 during the height of the First World War in which millions of men, on both sides, were killed Canadian doctor Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae saw poppies growing across the battle scarred landscape of Belgium and wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.
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.
In 1918 American Moina Michael was inspired by this poem to campaign for the poppy to be used as a symbol of remembrance which was adopted widely across the British Empire in 1921. Not everyone knows that poppies in Scotland are slightly different to everyone else’s. They have 4 petals and no leaf to the normal 3 petals and 1 leaf and were set up by Field Marshal Earl Haig to provide support and employment to veterans which became, amongst other things, The Royal British Legion.
The money raised from the ‘sale’ of poppies (they are not sold, they are all for donations) goes towards the work of The Royal British Legion which spends millions every year caring for ex-service men and women through residential homes and welfare break centres as well as helping those in dire financial need through case workers.
Here at Kingham Cottages we encourage our guests to appreciate the fact that they are visiting a living, working village. Whether it be telling them about local business’ they could support or local events they could attend. Each property has a copy of the monthly village newsletter which this month has all the information about Remembrance Sunday services and events locally. We hope our guests not only appreciate the cottages they are staying in but the community we love so much.