During the course of this month of November communities throughout the country will
be coming together to take part in acts of remembrance, focused largely on remembering
those service men and women who have given their lives in time of war. Here in Whalley,
we will once again be joining together in a united service and procession to the
cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. But before that, the annual service of remembrance
will have taken place at the old Calderstones chapel, followed by an act of remembrance
at the War Graves Commission Cemetery. One might imagine that such events would
be becoming less well supported, but in actual fact, if anything numbers attending
seem to have increased in recent years.
Earlier on this year I accompanied our former mayor Cllr. Joyce Holgate and a party
from the Ribble Valley to unveil a plaque dedicated to service personnel from this
borough, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. It was a most moving
occasion, although for me the most arresting experience that day was to see the thousands
of names carved on the memorial dedicated to those whose lives have been lost since
the end of WW2.
It would I think be very easy to be tempted to despair at humanities seemingly unending
capacity for conflict. Which is precisely why it is so important that the Church
continues to play it's part, so that we might sound a sorely needed note of hopefulness
in the face of sorrow and loss, using sentiments such as that penned by the author
of the Book of Lamenataions:
'This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never
ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.'
...at the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.