Sunday, 11 November 2012

Sunday Sermon: Lest we forget.

    
     

I will be brief today, because that is what is demanded of me. I'm sure some of you were wandering what today's Sunday Sermon would be all about. Would I talk about failing online retailers and the cut throat world of business? Perhaps I'd talk about cliques and how we believe how we approach the hobby is the right way? Often to the exclusion of others and other experiences. I could've done that, and I may indeed return to both subjects soon enough. But, these topics pale into insignificance for me around about this time of year, it all seems churlish today. I myself might not have had to fight in any conflicts, a fact that I am eternally grateful for, but I always show my own personal respects for those who have. More importantly I like to show my respects for those who fought in such conflicts and gave their lives so that I might have a better life.

So that we have freedoms to do what we want within reason. So that others might badly run companies. So that we all might buy toy soldiers and play pretend war. So that we have choices that many of these young men and women were not really given themselves. I don't think about such things on a daily basis, because if I did I'd probably slide into depression, but it does me good to think of the sacrifice others have made, so that we might make a complete pigs ear of things. I'd say "lest we forget" but all to often it seems we already have. I don't want to say any soldiers sacrifice was ever in vain, but so often when you look at the progression of history you realise that quite often they were. Why? Because of the way we live our lives, and the way we quite often take what we have for granted. We spend so long wrapped up in our own little worlds, with our own little problems that we very rarely stop to think how good we have it in comparison to past times, or even others on our planet this very day.

We as a society collectively forget past lessons. So on this Remembrance Sunday, that actually falls on Armistice Day this year, I want you all to go and look around your home at the possessions you have. I want you to look at the pile of toy soldiers you own. I want you to think about all the things you've done with your life and be grateful that others gave so much of themselves so that you could have what you have. Look at your friends and family, ask yourselves whether you take them for granted, ask whether you take any of this for granted. Because quite often it seems we do. Bickering over who is to blame for the demise of a company seems slightly redundant and trivial, when you think of all the lives lost in WWI, WWII and the myriad of conflicts since. So much human life lost on all sides, of all races and creeds, for what? Well for nothing if we continue to take what we have for granted and squander the opportunities we all have now.

My Grandfather once said to me "just when you think mankind couldn't get any shittier to one and other, we always find a new way to sink even lower"... he was talking to me just after the Lockerbie bombing, and I may be paraphrasing as I was but 9 at the time. It stuck in my head though for two reasons:

  1. He hardly ever swore as far as I'm aware, so as an impressionable 9 year old my gentleman Grandfather cursing was a real shock, and I took notice at the disgust and anger he showed. 
  2. He himself had seen some pretty despicable acts and atrocities during WWII, and I know he'd done things himself that haunted him to the day he died. Although he never really talked about it much.

So my Grandfather's words stuck with me, and I try not to be a shitty person, although I confess at times I'm sure I slip into complete asshatery. I try to give everyone a fair hearing, and more importantly I don't go out of my way to cause others harm.


So what am I thankful for? I'm thankful I got to know all of my Grandparents properly, I know many sadly don't. They all had a pretty profound affect on who I am as a person, and I think it was for the best overall. I'm thankful that I was able to get a decent education, something that my own Grandparents were denied. I'm grateful I have my health... well except for the fact I currently have a stinking cold! Those of you who know me well will know why I'm particularly grateful that's my only health concern right now. I'm grateful I have fantastic friends, I'm grateful they put up with me kicking their metaphorical asses at wargames and come back for more. I'm grateful I have four Maine Coon cats to pick my spirits up when they sink a little low. I'm exccedingly grateful I have Dr Brainiac to share my life with, I honestly don't think I could have devised a more perfect female to waste my life with, and I'm grateful I have freedom of speech to express my thoughts to you all. Never forget. Always be grateful. Pay your respects. Peace out!

20 comments:

  1. Good words there from your grandfather

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    1. My Grandfather was a very wise man. In fact, both my Grandfathers were / are very wise. Sadly my last remaining Grandparent (my other Grandfather) has been ill for a very long time. I'm actually amazed he's still alive. Just goes to show the fight that's in the tough old bugger.

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  2. Very well said. I watched the Cenotaph ceremony for the first time in years this morning and it was very moving and dignified. And the great British weather was good for a change!

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    1. I've pretty much always been made to watch the Cenotaph ceremony. When I was young I have to be honest I say I was never sure why. But I'm pretty damn sure that by the age of 9 or 10 it made a lot of sense. I used to go to the memorial service at Birmingham's Hall of remembrance with my Grandfather, but well, it's not the same without him.

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  3. I'm a vet of 3 tours overseas.

    Thanks,

    I.C.

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    1. My title is a reference to the Rudyard Kipling poem / hymn 'Recessional'. Which, is itself a warning against jingoism etc. yeah I know ironic considering you could accuse Kipling of being jingoistic himself on many occasions, but I've sort of felt the poem written for Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, always struck the right chord for remembrance.

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  5. As a serving soldier with 2 Gulf Wars, Northern Ireland, numerous Balkan and UN tours under my belt it still moves me that although the human race can be downright disgusting and nasty, certain members of it can go out of their way to understand why they have their freedom and rights.

    Thanks for your and your grandads words.

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    1. Indeed, it's the paradox at the core of humanity. We are capable of great compassion and bravery in the face of evil and destruction... the very evil and destruction we ourselves have wrought. I'm not sure the human race is doomed, because there are as many good men and women as there are evil. As Edmund Burke wrote:

      "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

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  6. The stories of my Grandfather's war experiences in the RAF and my Grandmother's of enduring the nazi occupation of Athens were eagerly lapped up as a child and through into my 20's. They've stuck with me my whole life through and coloured somewhat my outlook on life and as I age, make me realise exactly what we have now and how appreciative I am for it all. My house, my inter-racial marraige, my wonderful son, an existence that has rarely known true fear.
    Were our forebears not the men and women they had been, with far more bravery than I know I could evr muster, we'd most liekly not even be typing here.

    Damned fine post sir, thankyou.

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    1. Thanks, I was considering posting Kipling's poem recessional up and letting him say what I thought needed saying at first, but then I thought nope, I have something to say myself about how Remembrance Sunday makes me feel.

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  7. A very fine post, Jody. Thank you for sharing it. Very well said, and wonderfully written. Thank you again.

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  8. Very good post, sir.
    Every once in a while you remind me why I am very proud to know you.
    Then you write something that hits me in the head, and I go, 'Oh, yeah. Frontline is the friggin' man.'

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    1. Well I'm glad somebody is proud to know me. :P

      THose four Maine Coon's I mentioned seem to look at me ssometimes with a disdain bordering on the hostile. I'm pretty certain none of them are proud to know me!!! ;)

      Bloody cats.

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