14 November 2010 (Sunday) - Remembrance Day

I woke up feeling somewhat under the weather today. I know I shouldn’t drink to excess. But I do. That’s the kind of guy I am. Perhaps (in future) I might lay off the port somewhat?

Today was (in a very small way) one of life’s milestones: over time I’ve developed something of a routine to my life. Certain annual events are great fun and so I make a point of putting them into my calendar – kite festivals and beer festivals spring to mind. And from October to November it’s the bonfire season. I love the torchlight parades and fireworks. And I especially like the bit where we get to meet up with friends and family who we rarely see because we all live so far apart. And now with Rye Bonfire Parade but a happy memory and my hangover fading, this year’s bonfire season is over.

I rather wasted the day today – we had vague plans to go for a walk round the Brabourne estate and look for deer. But the rain didn’t stop, and so I alternated between sleeping in front of the telly and sleeping in front of playing NeverWinter Nights.

In previous years after the Rye Bonfire Parade I have dragged my carcass (and my hangover) to the Gardens of Remembrance to be with the cubs and scouts for the Remembrance service.
When I have been to remembrance services in the past there has been representation from pretty much the entire town. Wreaths were laid by all armed forces, scouting, guides, all three cadet forces, St John's, the council, the police, fire brigade, ambulance brigade, chamber of commerce, rotary club... anyone who wanted to take part would seem to be welcome. Whilst standing there shivering I would look at all the old servicemen with their medals. We would remember those who weren’t there. And I would reflect on the fact that I’ve never been in the armed forces. It’s because of what the old soldiers did in the past that I have never had to be.

Or that is I would try to reflect. But I never felt comfortable at those services. Whilst I am in no way whatsoever undermining the idea of remembrance services, it annoys me that they have been hijacked by organised religion; specifically the Christian Church. Am I alone in seeing the Church as being hypocritical here?
I can’t (in all conscience) go to a service in which I (and everyone else) intend to remember the sacrifices of heroes, but instead we are forced to put up with a vicar contradicting himself whilst spouting religious gibbering. Gibbering to which (quite frankly) the vast majority of the audience are not listening and do not believe.

Why can’t the local remembrance service be lead by the Mayor or by some other local dignitary? Or better still a retired soldier who knows what he’s talking about?

1 comment:

  1. Up the road in Norwich the Fire Brigade had secular services (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-11733374). This article does give the full outrage that appeared in some of the TV interviews. Frankly I have to agree with you and Norfolk's Chief Fire Officer we can remember the fallen without organised religion.