I was in high school before the semester and credit system was in put place. This meant that there were very few optional courses and certain courses were slated for certain years. So, that meant in Grade 11 I took Physics. Our Physics teacher was very good at what he did and popular with the students. He had arrived at the job with a variety of experience – cancer researcher, lived in Belgium, etc.
On November 11th of that school year, I had a Physics class. When we arrived in our teacher’s room, he had pulled down the screen and set up a slide projector. Yes, there was no video projection back then. Instead of teaching us Physics that day, he talked about the wars in Europe, showed us pictures he had taken in Ypres and in the multitude of military cemeteries scattered throughout Belgium and France. He talked to us about the importance of remembering and the sacrifice that was made.
I’ll never forget that class.
I already had a strong sense of the importance of Remembrance Day. My father was a WW2 veteran. He was in the Navy on Corvettes escorting steamers across the Atlantic Ocean. He wouldn’t talk about the war, but I knew it had, had a huge impact on him, as it did his brothers. Every year my dad and I would stand outside of the local supermarket selling poppies. And, we would go to the cenotaph every November 11th for the ceremonies. I still have a small American Flag, that some American legionnaires brought to a Remembrance Day service over 50 years ago.
War is a terrible, terrible thing. The loss of life, the carnage and destruction, the pain and disruption take a terrible toll. The British Parliamentarian Tony Benn once said, “All war represents a failure of diplomacy.” and Sun Tzu in the book, Art of War stated, “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” And, yet human history is a history of continuous conflict.
The Bible records many terrible battles and slaughters over thousands of years of history. I would say that it was a particularly bloody time, except that it hasn’t seemed to let up. However, the Bible also talks of peace. One of the titles for Jesus is, “the Prince of Peace.” The prophet Isaiah, wrote of the last days,
“He will judge between the nations, and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”
This Sunday we will take some time to remember and to appreciate all of those who sacrificed – some their lives, some their livelihood, some their mental health, some their loved ones and family members.
Also, this Sunday we will have the choir from North Bramalea United Church sing with us and to us.
So please don’t forget – Sunday, November 10th at 10:30am for Food and Friendship and 11:00am for Worship and Inspiration.