Thank You

Thank You

100 years ago the guns fell silent on the world’s first truly global war. It was a tragic yet remarkable time in history. Our oldest church member 100 year old Grace would have been a baby! In the aftermath of the war life remained tough with so many shortages as well as the pain of losing so many in every community in this country and beyond. There was no going back ‘to normal’. The war changed everything, for everybody.

 

A few years after the war we started to remember and commemorate those who had died by using a poppy as a symbol of remembrance and hope.  In the spring of 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battle-scarred fields to write the famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. The poem inspired an American academic, Moina Michael, to make and sell red silk poppies which were brought to England. The (Royal) British Legion, formed in 1921, ordered 9 million of these poppies and sold them on 11 November that year. They sold out almost immediately and that first ever ‘Poppy Appeal’ raised over £106,000; a considerable amount of money at the time. This was used to help veterans with employment and housing.

 

The following year, Major George Howson set up a factory to make poppies and employ disabled ex-Servicemen. Today, the factory and the Legion’s warehouse in Aylesford produces millions of poppies each year.

 

Giving thanks is very much the theme this year. The Royal British Legion are encouraging the nation, through community events, schools and campaigns not to remember for the sake of it, or to ‘celebrate’, but to commemorate. It is about honouring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Everyone is touched in some way by the First World War and the generation who lived through it. Of course, although it is the centenary of the end of the First World War, we also remember those lost in the Second World War as well as other conflicts and wars ever since. It is a way that we can palpably say “Thank You”. Even today, there are still stories of great heroism and humanity emerging for which we give thanks, and wear a poppy.

 

We can say Thank You through family, community, places of work, church  – or simply as an individual. The Royal British Legion is encouraging us to explore the First World War heritage where we live and find reasons for giving thanks. For instance, Filey Bay Initiative has produced a fascinating booklet ‘Filey in the Great War’ (You can view it at tiny.cc/975f0y)

 

The Memorial Gardens remain a focal point of our remembering with the names of those who were lost from Filey including those lost in the Second World War, the Korean War and Aden. This year a new installation will encourage us all, old and young, to honour and remember those who fought to maintain the freedoms we enjoy today.

 

The sacrifices made remind me of what Christ has done on the cross. The great sacrifice made once and for all in Jesus that calls out to each one of us to respond – giving thanks to God, but also like many service personnel, getting out there in the world and making it a better place for all humanity. As we say in one of the post communion prayers:

“ …. when we were still far off you [God] met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living he declared your love, gave us grace and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life, we who drink this cup, bring life to others , we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world”.

 

Revd Nigel

Vicar of Filey

Material adapted from Royal British Legion information. https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/