In commemoration of the Great War.
It was over 100 years ago that 750,000 young men volunteered to defend their King and Country. Sadly it later transpired that 250,000 of them were not even old enough! In the euphoria to sign up many of them had lied about their ages, they were just boys, barely 15 years old who thought it would be a great way to see a bit of the world, believing that it would all be over in six months. Those who were old enough didn’t know much better either. In their naivety, they were even given leave from their jobs, some being told, ‘it would be a nice little holiday.’
Unlike today, all those years ago news did not travel fast, it was not until they had crossed the channel that the facts began to emerge and as the red hot shrapnel plummeted down on them and the gas attacks blinded them did the truth and full horror of what they had been led into emerge.
It was only in their latter years that some were able to bear their souls and the burdens of their hearts to tell their tales. A film clip of a veteran now passed on, shed a tear as he shared how his friend with major body parts missing, in shock had asked him for a cigarette, by the time he had taken two puffs he was dead- like a puff of smoke he was gone. Life expectancy was short; if you lasted more than six weeks you were classed as lucky.
The Great War which these young volunteers anticipated was to last no more than six months actually lasted 1560 days. The ceasefire took place on the 11th Hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 and more than sixteen million young men lost their lives.
Looking at life today, I think we like to feel things are better, but in a way the world is still at war. News travels much faster nowadays and listening to the news sadly it seems we have not moved on that greatly. People are still killing each other. So many stories of terrible tragedies. What can we say?
People who are hurting become angry and they will look for somebody to blame, sadly when all else fails many will blame it on God. Even those who say they don’t believe in God will blame God. Yes with regards to faith times may have changed, but when it comes to our final hour has it? Over 100 years ago I believe when those young men lay dying in agony they would have prayed to God. And as it says Acts 2 : 21
‘Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
So today I say, to all those who suffer and mourn I pray you will find your faith. it is a fact that many people when in times of trouble will pray, so give it a try, call upon the name of the Lord. I pray that through these terrible tragedies although loved ones may be gone, you will meet them again.
As that old song goes, ‘we’ll meet again don’t know where don’t know when but I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.’
A dedication to my beloved Grandad, who although long gone, fought and survived the Great War.
Other inspirations can be read in ‘On Earth as it is in Heaven’ by Julie Prentice
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