Up and down the country millions of people will be observing 2 minutes silence as the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month approaches. If recent years are anything to go by there will also be acts of remembrance at stadiums at the start of sporting fixtures around that time. Churches too will uphold the tradition of observing remembrance at 11:00am on the nearest Sunday which this year is 9th November. Here in Hook there is a tradition of laying wreaths at 9:00am at the War Memorial near the junction of Newnham Lane and the A30 which everyone is welcome to attend.
The date and time of the Act of Remembrance is fixed by the time when the armistice was signed, bringing to an end the ‘war to end all wars’ in 1918. So, although this year has seen many events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, it won’t be until 2018 that the parallel commemorations of the end of that terrible conflict will take place. Between 28 July 1914 and 11 November 1918, 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians lost their lives. Added together the number of military personnel from both sides recorded as dead, wounded or missing in action amounted to almost 49 million people (more people than many entire nations). This is a staggering number of casualties; one which emphasises the importance of these centenary commemorations which will run over into the next four years.
Tragically the war to end all wars has been anything but, as armed conflict has continued to preoccupy international relations right up to the present day. Only last month western governments once again ordered their forces to operate offensive missions. According to one source 160 million people died in wars in the 20th century and already almost 700,000 people have died in armed conflict in the 21st century.
On Sunday 9th November Life Church will be observing the 2 minutes silence in an event that will attempt to bring together strands of historical significance from 100 years ago along with recognition of the impact of modern conflict in modern Britain. Join us for our meeting which starts at 10:30am in the Elizabeth Hall as we pray for peace across all the nations of the world and seek to find hope amidst the ongoing conflict which appears almost daily on our TV screens. Whether you join us for this contemporary commemoration or participate in a more traditional one our prayer is that this world may yet become a safer place for future generations.
This blog post featured in the November 2014 edition of Hook Focus