Posted by: madkentdragon | October 19, 2010

We Will Remember Them


“We will remember them”, how many times have you heard those words?

Watch the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance, the Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph or attend a local Remembrance Service and you will hear the “Exhortation”; 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

But did you know that these words come from a poem by Laurence Binyon called “For the Fallen” written in 1919?  And do you think that these people are only remembering the death of the WWI troops?

But wait a minute, someone is now saying something else – what did he say?  Oh yes it was:

“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, 
For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”

Now where did that come from? What did they call it? – The Kohima Epitaph? What’s that?

The Battle of Kohima April 1944 – June 1944 was one of the turning points of WWII and Kohima is in eastern India, which had been invaded from Burma and although this was a victory for the allied forces there was horrendous loss. The memorial built there has the Epitaph inscribed on it and has come to demonstrate that the troops who sacrificed their lives did so in a battle for “right”. I’m not condoning the loss of life but explaining the attitude of the time.

So now in our Remembrance Service, we’ve acknowledged the WWII troops who lost their lives, but the words quoted above can still be attributed to all losses since these two wars – and they do. There has only been one year since the end of WWII when a service person has not lost their life on duty. And these must also be remembered and the Royal British Legion ensure that these are remembered just as much as Great Uncle Jack from WWI.

So when you see a Remembrance Service and wreath laying at a war memorial near you, please go and join in – because they are all remembered; from the World Wars and all the conflicts on foreign soil that our people have been involved in right to the current conflict in Afghanistan and please wear that poppy.

For those who are interested the original poem: 

FOR THE FALLEN

By Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children
England mourns for her dead across the sea,
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow,
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again,
They sit no more at familiar tables of home,
They have no lot in our labour of the daytime,
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires and hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the night.

As the stars shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

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Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Tales of Unwise Paths.

  2. A pleasure. I knew the verse but did not realise it was only part of a whole poem. Informative article. Thank you.


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