Each year, as is the tradition, I lead the Remembrance Sunday service at St George’s Church in Pontesbury. The service involves members of the British Legion and all the uniformed organisations. Part of the service includes reading out the names of the fallen in both world wars and then walking to the war memorial for the Act of Remembrance and Commitment. The Kohima Epitath is said and buglers play the Reveille.
It’s surprising how many people, especially young people, walk round the village without realising where the memorial is or what the commemoration service is about. I’m sure it’s the same for many villages in the area. We come to take the architecture around us for granted and can overlook why it was put there and what it means. As in many, many villages and towns across the country our memorial was paid for by funds raised locally; a sign of the huge numbers who lost their lives in the conflict. The memorial was dedicated on Sunday 1 May 1921. John Lakelin, whose family has lived locally for many years, still has a copy of the order of service.
Last year, 2014, the service focused on the First World War in particular because of the centennial commemoration of the start of the war. It is an ecumenical act of witness as other Christians in the village join us for the service at St George’s. The same hymn, ‘O God our Help in Ages Past’, was sung and the names of the fallen were read out, then as now.
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