Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Lisa and Graham are on the executive committee, and Chamber of Commerce meetings are held at Well House Manor

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Remembrance day - inside a church and inside the day

I remember how bored I got at school at the end of term Church service - we all shuffled across the road to St Nic's and listened to Rev Ogilvie - who was a nice and earnest man, and great in a pastoral role. But listening to him and to the head have us sing songs with words I found - even in those days - difficult to identify with left me longing for the end of the service. Yet it taught me patience - the ability to bite a task or time into a series of shorter and more acceptable pieces, and to see patterns and beauty in the mundane such as how a hymn is laid out and how things come back to the same chorus.

As a parent, attending the Minster church in Warminster for similar service clearly had even less impact. Every term, thanks was given to the school founder who was - I have no doubt - a pious and wonderful old boy, but it was done in such a way that it passed me by completely and I found it hard to understand the services - starting to see them, in some ways, as a form of indoctrination where if the same thing was said and sung, with the same melody and in a larger group of peers and seniors, that the younger / junior members might come to accept and believe it even if it stretched patience and credulity. But of course, that's just my opinion and I'm sure others wouldn't share such a view ... or would they.

Melksham Parish ChurchWe were in St Michaels and All Saints in Melksham today - packed for the remembrance day service, and being slightly late arrivals (with the official group to represent the local Chamber of Commerce), we were far forward (yikes! front row!). And around us a number of old soldiers - gentlemen who have done brave things that I would not be brave enough to do, seen things I would never wish to see, and done it with all of their hearts believing in a cause. I admire them; and I was yet further heartened to hear their spirit as they questioned the prayer for the president of the USA, and encouraged the vicar (who was thinking carefully about each word before uttering it) to accelerate a little. "Get ON with it" were the words, I think!

The mixing of State and Church on such a day has also become less comfortable to me over the years. I regret that prayers imply the support for only the British troops fighting the British cause - leaving out the Poles and the New Zealanders and the Americans who were beside us in the last World War and other wars, leaving out any words for the soldiers fighting with equal earnestness for the opposing cause. I confess to being, frankly, shocked when the vicar raised the subject of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, and used it to lead in to berate the Japanese for not offering a full apology for the atrocities THEY committed against prisoners in Burma. I wasn't around at that time, but from what I know some regret should also be expressed at the dreadful loss of civilian life cause by our side at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


Poppies, Brugge, Belgium But I can live with that shock and discomfort on a day like today. Lisa and I were honoured to be able to lay a wreath at the war memorial - in respectful memory of all the people who died for their cause in wartime or as a result of war. And their sacrifice, let us remember, was not in vain. Just Friday night, I took a phone call concerning the best way to press forward with the development of the train campaign and my contact commented that "we wouldn't have been able to work like this in times gone by". Actually, his words were stronger and the implication much stronger yet; and that freedom that we have, though sometimes we don't notice it, was nurtured and survived because of the sacrifices of so many that we remembered today.

(written 2007-11-11, updated 2012-11-04)

 
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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