11 Nov 2008

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day today - on BBC Radio 4 this morning I heard Jonathan Bartley being interviewed - he made some thought-provoking points that chimed with my thinking - see his article here. As someone who wears both white and red poppies (see here) I have met disgust and even anger at wearing the white poppy - this is to completely misunderstand what it is about.....the trouble also is, as Jonathan Bartley points out, Remembrance Sunday shows only too clearly that double standards are alive and well - indeed remembrance sits uncomfortably with some of the church’s own teachings and beliefs, not to mention the positions it has taken on recent conflicts.

Here is some of what he writes: "If we accept the Remembrance Day rhetoric, that soldiers laid down their lives to give us the liberties we enjoy today, then surely that must include the freedom to choose how we remember the dead, and say what we believe? Indeed, it does a disservice to their memory not to allow such choice and conscience to be expressed. Remembrance Sunday needs to experience the liberation to which it pays lip service. The church should be the freedom fighter to bring it. But in the absence of a few more Runcies, the tyranny of partial remembrance looks set to continue its reign for a while yet."

The Christian tradition insists that all are equal in the sight of God. True remembrance requires that the dead on all sides are brought to mind. At 11 today I didn't get a proper chance to show respect but have made time since then - it has been very moving to hear the various tributes in the media today and indeed this last week.

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