The article in Friday’s Lynn News describing the project in Tilney All Saints to commemorate The Fallen in the first World War set me thinking.
Many times I’ve stood as a choirboy and later in life as a parish councillor in Denver and witnessed the ceremony at our War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday and looked at the rows of names of men who were killed and only vaguely comprehended that these were once living and breathing people who lived in houses in my village and never came back after the war. We stand and sing hymns and some of the old soldiers and their descendants will remember but for the rest of us its a solemn occasion but we have no real connection with those names carved into the stone cross by the pub.
It seems to me that more villages could take a leaf out of Tilney’s book and reveal more about the lives and deaths of these brave and sometimes not-so-brave men. Imagine if there was a point your village’s Remembrance Sunday where someone stepped forward and said something about just one name on that terrible list. One man, his name called out and a little bit of detail about his life and world and family before he was called to defend us from Hitler would place the entire ceremony in context and transport us from an annual solemn rite into a real commemoration of the sacrifices made by real local men.
Context is everything and bringing the service back to a point where we are forced to look beyond the fading list of names might also force us to remember why there must be no more world wars.