Tag Archives: World War I

Culture War Christianity in American history

In this article, you might find our comments on our previously published articles about Culture War Christians

What Are The Culture Wars?

A History Of The Culture Wars

A Theology of Culture War Christianity

Beyond the Culture Wars


 

What are the Culture Wars?

Think of “culture” as a way of life. It is the sum total of all values, beliefs, and practices making up a communal existence. When God commissions newly formed humanity in Genesis 1 to “fill the earth and subdue it”, he sets men and women into the world with a cultural mandate. His plan was for a human society, united under his rule in the world, ruling with him over the Cosmos as his vice-regents. {What Are The Culture Wars?}

Karl Marx saw how main religion tried to lure people in the ban of the church by false doctrines. It is because the majority of people did not take the time to read the Bible that so many religious groups were able to get people following their false doctrines.

Regularly, people were so prayed for by those doctrines of those churches that they no longer faced the real thing because they preferred to float on those ideas of those churches. It had become so bad that Marx also realised that for many, religion was like an ‘opium for the people’. In lots of Christian and Islamic denominations, their church leaders managed to have their followers, following and worshipping a wrong god and not following the real Christ. since his time still not much has been changed, and there are still lots of false teachers and false prophets around. Marx was disturbed by the knowledge that he saw so many people around him falling for those false human teachings and giving their money away to those churches when there were so many people around them suffering. Marx also noted few dared to question, let alone challenge, church doctrines.

It also bothered several thinkers in the 19th century that the church made no attempt to defend the majority of their churchgoers or parishioners, and did not stand up against the exploitation of parishioners. For far too many centuries, the Roman Catholic Church itself had done everything possible to trot out money from the poorer population.

The German revolutionary, sociologist, historian, and economist, Karl Marx and his closest collaborator, the German socialist philosopher Friedrich Engels’ answer to the ills of society was according to some, just the opposite of the utopian dreamers’ answers. Mainly this, because the ideas of utopists (like Mr. Ampe) seem for many too far-fetched and unreachable. Though Marx and Engels found enough people who, like them, believed that one could change the way people lived and could come to a better world with less inequality. They, too, went for a better world.

Since World War I the world has evolved incredibly on all levels. Politically it was a time of trying out several political systems, getting more than once in a lot of problems and crises. The Western world clinched at the industrialisation and experienced mixed economies floating between all kinds of political thoughts. Even as the western world became less religious and the church got less of a grip on its citizens, the rich continued to control everything and did everything they could to maintain their power.

For

For him it is clear that Christ should be at the centre of Christianity. But he also expects something for those who call themselves Christian. He

When Jesus prayed,

“on earth as it is on heaven”

he was indicating his expectation and desire that the culture of Heaven becomes the culture of Earth by way of his Church. But does Culture War Christianity, the sort launched in the ’70s, contradict the nature of Jesus’ Kingdom?

So many people had looked forward to the 20th century, hoping that because of all the new inventions, brought forward by the Industrial Revolution, they would be able to create a world where everything would be much easier and giving them more time to relax. The century opened with great hope but also with some apprehension, for the new century marked the final approach to a new millennium. For many, humankind was entering upon an unprecedented era. The English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian H.G. Wells’s utopian studies, the aptly titled Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought (1901) and A Modern Utopia (1905), both captured and qualified this optimistic mood and gave expression to a common conviction that science and technology would transform the world in the century ahead.

Already before the seventies of the previous century there was something going wrong in the industrialised world. Even though many countries were allowed to offer independence back to their colonies, they continued to exploit people in their own countries. Even when churches wanted to present God in different ways over the years, people should know That God never changes. He will always be the same and keep to the same Plan He had already from the beginning of times.

The American pastor and current PhD candidate in Theological Ethics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, Jared Stacy 
wants to call our attention to this basic theological ethic:

The work of God’s rule spreading throughout the world in individual lives and communities will never contradict who God is.

We would have loved that, but reality shows something totally different. For centuries, the main Christian churches have chosen another path than the disciples of Christ. The majority of people preferred to keep to their heathen traditions and festivals and the Catholic and several Protestant churches followed them and made Jesus Christ (the Messiah) their god. As such, we must say there is a lot of contradiction in what people say God is. For many, He is not the God of Christ, Who is the God of Israel, but is a god who is part of a three-headed godship, the Trinity.

It is not just that difference of who God is and who Christ is that has brought division in the world of believers. The diversity of religious groups has also brought both confusion and discord. Coming closer to the 21st-century tension or strife resulting from a lack of agreement came to bring even more separation between the true followers of the Nazarene Jewish masterteacher Jeshua  ben Joseph (Jesus Christ) and the name-Christians who worship Jesus as their god and do not shy away from also worshipping all kinds of people they call saints, this while the One True God desires full recognition and worship.

We have the impression that the blog writer who also writes for platforms like NPR, the BBC, Current, and For the Church, does not see (or does not know) the multiple camps in Christendom. He only mentions two of them. He writes

To speak generally, mischaracterizations come from two camps. Let’s call one group “conscientious objectors” and the other, “vocal advocates”.

Some accuse conscientious objectors to the Culture Wars of believing that Christianity should have no influence in the public square. They slander these conscientious objectors as faithless & godless, or misrepresent them as conspiratorially hypocritical, secretly harboring a progressive political agenda.

On the other end of the spectrum, some conscientious objectors accuse vocal advocates of conflating Christianity with cultural power. This often leads them to slander vocal advocates as compromising sell-outs, or mischaracterize their advocacy & well-connected influence as grounded in an inherently complicit conservative agenda. No doubt, I believe there are instances of legitimate criticisms from boths sides in Christian spaces. But polarity abounds.

For him the polarizing gap between vocal advocates and conscientious objectors reveals a vast “no man’s land” in American evangelicalism. This is why he believes his series has pastoral and personal implications for all of us.

Because either you or someone you know is wandering the no man’s land as a refugee from the Culture Wars.

Many American evangelicals are proud that they (so-called) keep to The 10 Commandments, though all of them already sin against the first commandment, not keeping to The Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah of hosts, the God above all gods.

David Hansen correctly says

“The majority of Americans will tell any pollster that they believe in the Ten Commandments. But only a small percentage of those people could even recite the Ten Commandment; and even a smaller percentage have any genuine interest in following them.” {The 10 Commandments in American Culture}

Lots of North Americans should seriously think about their religion and their faith. About that faith Stacy says there is a danger.

On a day of hope, we need a fresh reminder of the danger inherent in an embrace of Christian faith. {The Danger of Faith}

He points out the trap many Americans have fallen into.

It is American consumer Christianity that invites us to “make Jesus Lord of our lives”. This pitch makes Christ a commodity, leaving us—the consumer—with control. The resurrection and ascension is a coronation that happens apart from our consumer choice & control. {The Danger of Faith}

1909 painting The Worship of Mammon, the god of material wealth, by Evelyn De Morgan

The great part of the US population, as well as in other developed countries, is that believers have deviated from Biblical truth as well as become wedded to matter and thus actually honour the god Mammon. Several denominations in the United States make clever use of asking people for money all the time, pretending that they will then have a better life. It has also become so ingrained in people that one can only be successful if one has acquired a lot of money. Consequently, many do everything possible to be as rich as possible (on the material plane) while completely neglecting spiritual wealth. Many have forgotten that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.

Stacy writes

It is hard to deny today that for many, the supposed downfall of America is synonymous with the collapse of Christianity. Jesus confronts this idolatry with his Kingdom. {The Danger of Faith}

Lots of Americans are even not aware of how they participate in idolatry, which they prove by continually clinging to pagan festivals such as Candlemas, Easter, Halloween and Christmas, to name only the main ones, and to cling to money and material gain.

He reigns over a Kingdom that cannot be shaken through the rising and falling empires of this world. {The Danger of Faith}

And throughout history, many kingships or kingdoms and principalities as well as republics have risen and fallen. Never before has man succeeded in creating a nation or empire in which everyone was comfortable and where justice was done to everyone. Several Christians, in imitation of Christ, have tried to make people understand how best to live in unity with fellow human beings, plants and animals.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial) - NARA - 542010.tif

The 1963 March on Washington participants and leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, as mass protest movement against racial segregation and discrimination in the southern United States that came to national prominence during the mid-1950s.

When we look at the German culture struggle of the 1870’s (kulturkampf) it’s clear that the American Civil Rights movement was a “Culture War” too. King’s commitment to non-violence laid a distinct Christian foundation for the Civil Rights movement. But white evangelicals of the time either distanced themselves from King, or denounced the Civil Rights movement entirely, with calls to “just preach the gospel.”  {A History Of The Culture Wars}

writes Stacy.

But not many white Americans were really willing to go to preach what was really written in the gospel. They prefer just to take some phrases out of context to repeat them so that people come to believe them.

The forty odd years from this origin point until today witnessed the end of the Cold War and an insurrection at the US Capitol. Between these bookends, Culture War Christianity made itself known & felt in American society through movements. (See, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Jesus and John Wayne; Stan Gall, Borderlines: Reflections on Sex, War, and the Church; Frances Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals; Tim Gloege, Guaranteed Pure; historical treatments on these movements) {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy reminds his readers:

The arguments and relationships in the antebellum South were transported via Lost Cause theology 100 years into the future, seen in white evangelical responses to the Civil Rights Movement. But these leaders could not ignore the impact of King’s kulturkampf. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He assures his readers that

Culture War Christianity started after the Civil Rights Movement, not before. It borrows the playbook of the CRM. Ironically, it thrives on a sort of “persecuted minority” mindset, borrowed from the Civil Rights movement, but not actually indicative of the communal experience in its main constituents: white evangelicals. A minority mindset is a prominent characteristic of God’s people in the Scriptures. However, this mindset is not characteristic of evangelical experience in the United States. Race relations and evangelical’s historic participation in the moral establishment offer two historical keys that present a necessary critique of modern Culture War Christianity. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He believes it is impossible to understand the history behind Culture War Christianity apart from race relations in the United States. So, we begin where we left off, with this statement:

The Culture Wars began when white American evangelicals took the activist playbook from the very Civil Rights leaders they opposed, to advance a moral agenda they could support.

Some were overtly political, like the Moral Majority or Christian Coalition. Others would serve the notion of family values, yet retain political influence, like Focus on the Family or Promise Keepers. Local churches and expansive media (books, radio, television) formed the local grassroots communities made these movements possible.

While this all may seem quite familiar, especially if you inhabited spaces within white American Christianity during the last 40 years, a history of the Culture Wars would be best served by going back 2 centuries to look at the phrase “Culture War” itself. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In his blog he then goes back to the 19th century, across the Atlantic Ocean where the Germans provide us with a glimpse into a framework upstream to both the Civil Rights Movement and “Culture War Christianity” at a time when a new world order was being born. In that era, he recognises the central position of the Catholic Church, facing new threats to its grasp on power.

From the political power of the nation- state to the intellectual frameworks of liberalism and Darwinism, the winds were shifting. In response, the Church produced a flurry of theological statements and denouncements meant to stem the tide of ideas that threatened its hold on the Old World Order. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

File:Portrait pius ix.jpg

Portrait of Pope Pius IX circa 1864

The Holy See under Pope Pius IX on 8 December 1864, brought an appendix to the Quanta cura encyclical, with a syllabus where the church wanted to have the people see that it was with the times and recognised 80 of the

“principal errors of our times.”

As the errors listed had already been condemned in allocutions, encyclicals, and other apostolic letters, the Syllabus said nothing new and so could not be contested. Its importance lay in the fact that it published to the world what had previously been preached in the main only to the bishops, and that it made general what had been previously specific denunciations concerned with particular events. Perhaps the most famous article, the 80th, stigmatising as an error the view that

“the Roman Pontiff can and should reconcile himself to and agree with progress, liberalism, and modern civilisation,”

sought its authority in the pope’s refusal, in Jamdudum Cernimus, to have any dealings with the new Italian kingdom. On both scores, the Syllabus undermined the liberal Catholics’ position, for it destroyed their following among intellectuals and placed their program out of court.

The Church denounced religious liberty, the nation-state, and other consequences stemming from the “threat of liberalism.” {A History Of The Culture Wars}

For some time there had been bumbling or difficulty in having a good relationship with the Catholic Church. More thinkers also came to speak out about the huge profits the Church was making on the backs of the faithful. Increasingly, there was also the idea of going back to the basics of Christ’s teachings where simplicity was preached and people were taught how to stand up for and care for each other. In the gospel, Jesus set a good example of how not only Christians should live, but actually every human being.

In the 1870’s, the German people, specifically within the Kingdom of Prussia, found themselves in conflict with the Catholic Church over their own Reformation roots and a rapidly secularizing order. This conflict had ramifications for both the Church and the separated German states. As a result of this conflict swirling around the German peoples, individual German States united along highly Protestant lines under Otto Von Bismark of Prussia. (See, Helmut Walser Smith, editor, The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History) This period of conflict and change was given a name: Kulturkampf, or “Culture Struggle”. This German kulturkampf shows us how struggles between competing visions for human existence are sparked by complex reactions between religion, politics, and power. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

It is the clash between people of the common people, as well as philosophers and political thinkers, with the church, that caused very animated conversations in several places in the German Empire about faith, church, and the way we as human beings should choose to arrive at a better world.

After World War II several American religious groups tried to have the power over the American people. They tried to convince them that they were the sole church which preached the truth. Some even went so far to tell the people they were chosen by God and that their church is the only one that can bring them in heaven. For those churches, it is certain that one can only be accepted by God if one follows their rules. Of course, such a saying is absurd, but a large majority of Americans follow that false statement. In the life of faith, it is also certain that no particular church by Jesus was ever designated as the only one to follow.

By studying German kulturkampf, we can begin to see the American Culture War’s false claim to exclusivity and authority by claiming itself to be the sole representative and defender of orthodox Christianity. When we realize this — that American Culture War Christianity is not the single defender of the faith —  it trains us to adopt a healthy critical filter every time a Christian leader describes the “very survival of Christianity at stake” as a smoke screen for unChristian agreements with power. On the other hand, conscientious objectors to Culture War Christianity would do well to consider how “culture struggle” might be a positive expression of Christian faith. There is space to consider positive “culture struggle”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

King’s kulturkampf was rooted in Christian principles, and sought to dismantle the injustices of racial segregation, subjugation and discrimination within America. With the upcoming of the more conservative Christians, and/or conservative evangelicals, the position between coloured people worsened again and nationalism and (far) right-wing ideas came to the forefront in the States, the same way they did in the 1930s in Europe. Thus, from Europe, we could see the very dangerous development of right-wing rule and the glorification of such despots as Donald Trump, who is a danger to the world.

What would come to define and shape Culture War Christianity in 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s in the US is not at all what King and several serious preachers had in mind. The growing conservatism by the Americans brought forward people who are against equality and who find the white man is the pure race. Even Billy Graham came to criticise segregation but also denounced the non-violent demonstrations as contributing to further violence.

Others denounced calls for desegregation entirely. Back in 1960, Bob Jones Sr. took harder lines at Christians supporting an end to segregation by referring to them as “religious infidels”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Several pastors of mega-churches, especially in white neighbourhoods, succeeded in shifting all the faults of the system onto the backs of the blacks and refugees who just’ came and invaded America’, without the government doing enough to stop them. One would think the religious leaders would have their moral reasoning to flow from a theological calculus, but it (for sure) did not come from Biblical teaching.

Stacy writes

Charles Ivory’s masterful Proslavery Christianity examines the white evangelical relationship with black evangelicals before the Civil War. He looks at how these interactions between white and black Christians, slave and free, actually came to shape the white evangelical theological defense of slavery. If we want to understand the Culture War Christianity of Falwell, and other white evangelicals, we need to examine their response to the Civil Rights Movement. I believe their response has its source in the theological calculus of white evangelicals in the antebellum South. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Ivory writes it was not uncommon for white and black evangelicals to worship within the same church. Indeed, the revival of the late 18th century did not discriminate on the basis of cultural background. But the theological conflict in evangelical churches pre-Civil War centered around conversion. Namely, does Christian conversion necessitate manumission? Today, Christians would argue chattel slavery is indefensible regardless of a slave’s conversion to Christianity. Humanity is not property. However, the historical context of the time made the question of conversion and manumission the frontline theological conflict regarding chattel slavery within evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In West Europe the people had gone already through that process, knowing that slavery was something one could not accept in a civilised society. On this, several speakers came to draw attention to a system to bring more equality among all people. The road to socialism and communism was thus promoted by several enthusiasts.

Culture War Christianity has long since ossified into the de facto expression of faith for many white American evangelicals.

But those white American Christians have come to love themselves more than someone else and consider themselves as the only ones worthy to govern America. They do not have an eye at all for the indigenous people, because they consider themselves as the rightful founders and owners of America.

For 200 years, white evangelicalism has been an insider. No where has the minority mindset been more pervasive in our modern conception of Culture War Christianity than rhetoric. Phrases like “drain the swamp”, “make America great again”, and “take back America for God” in evangelical politics go right next to “that’s too political” and “just preach the gospel” in evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

We can wonder from who those evangelicals have to take back ‘their country’! Those evangelicals seem not to have any idea what the ‘founders’ of America had in mind and why they wanted religion and government separated.

While separation of church and state was federally enshrined in the Constitution, it did not play out in those strict terms in state and local governments. This changed in the early 20th century, when the Scopes trial, New Deal politics, and internal theological warring between fundamentalists and modernists left a vacuum in American society that evangelicalism used to fill in common culture. Neo-evangelicals like Billy Graham emerged in this vacuum. But for the long of American history, Christians have not only been influential, but privileged.

How can a privileged majority come to see itself as a minority? Culture War Christianity accomplishes this in part by dressing itself in the Biblical and theological concept of a remnant. A faithful few of God’s people who remain loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land. But this theological adaptation does not line up with the historical participation of white evangelicals in the moral establishment of the United States. Yet, the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Though the big problem of those Tea Party and conservative or fundamentalist evangelicals is that they are not at all remaining “loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land” they even have betrayed God and His son on several levels. They have created some three-headed god (or three-une being) and political leaders such as Trump as their gods, and consider their American flag as their religious symbol even a Christian symbol. For sure they can not belong to the faithful few of God’s people, because they do not believe in the Only One True God and because they do not act like People of God. They themselves are part of that ‘dark world’ the Bible is talking about. And now in those times that darkness and of gloominess can be seen everywhere, they also do everything to create division and spread hate, instead of spreading the love of Christ and his great message of a world full of peace. Those evangelicals with other name Christians have made it a sport to make fun of, blacken and curse true Christians. They do everything possible to get people away from those true worshippers of God. They also have some sort of paranoia and consider all people from abroad as dangerous suspects. They fear those coming from outside America would destroy their freedom.

Stacy remarks

the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

and also see what happened under the influence of certain political figures.

The Culture Wars of white American evangelicalism was not the reaction of the minority against the majority, but the majority against a imagined majority. It is hard to avoid this conclusion given overwhelming support for President Trump. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy continues writing

In the place of Jesus’ active reign today, we find American Christians given to other reigning power structures: nationalism, racism, misogyny, and bigotry. They are discipled by political—not resurrection—power. This is partly the reason why Culture War Christians took greater issue with Kaepernick’s supposed desecration of the flag than they might with his concerns over police brutality against image bearers. They operate in a power structure other than the Kingdom of Jesus. {A Theology of Culture War Christianity}

Stacys wonders

What if Culture War Christianity long ago bowed the knee to a nationalist, secular conservatism? One with its law & order politics, reticence on issues of race, and idolatry of country? {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Ans says that he has argued this in his series.

Long before white evangelicals told MLK to “just preach the gospel”, there has always been a Christianity domesticated by, and deployed in defense of, the status quo in this country. Frederick Douglass called it before any of us. And in this sort of Christianity, “make disciples” has too often been code for “make people like us” not “make us like Jesus”. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

There lies one of the biggest problems in American Christendom. The majority of Americans does not take time enough to seriously study the Scriptures. For most of them the Bible also only means the New Testament. Lots of those evangelicals also do not understand what that sacrificial offering of Jesus, letting himself be nailed at the stake, means. For them it is very difficult to grasp how a man of flesh and blood could give himself as a lamb for whitewashing the sins of many.

Some of those white evangelicals living in the United States of America are convinced they are the only ones who can  Make America Great Again and build up the most correct state. They forget how so many people before them have tried already to construct an ideal state. They should know it shall only happen under Jesus Christ that we shall be able to live in a perfect world.

Let us also not forget Niebuhr’s saying,

“any good worth doing takes more than one lifetime.”

According to Jared Stacy

This should give us pause before we entertain pragmatism to bring about change in our lifetime. It was Jesus who said,

“what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul?”

This should give us pause as we count the cost of pragmatism to reveal the Kingdom of God. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

He ends his article series by saying

After all, the cross is not a symbol of cultural superiority for white America, but of surrender and sacrifice in the Kingdom of God. We must measure our motivations by the Cross, and our methods. Take it from me. A millennial. The generation who was born in and shaped by the ‘Jesus & John Wayne evangelicalism” in its prime. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

And recognises the problem

Culture War Christianity allows you to have a Christian worldview and reject the Cross.   {Beyond the Culture Wars}

By which he hopefully means: rejecting the ransom offering of that Jewish Nazarene master teacher, Jeshua ben Josef, or Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

It substitutes other, more pragmatic means to really get things done. But in the Kingdom of Jesus the only strategy available for implementing a Christian worldview is the Cross.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

We have to do away with the false teaching in Christendom and have to go back to the Biblical teachings and keep to them, adhering to Biblical Truth and not human doctrine.

We should recognise the danger of that growing conservative evangelism.

For all it’s posturing about the morality of America, Culture War Christianity has stopped its ear to calls for ethnic & economic justice. Has tied its hands in response to sexual scandal and abuse in its ranks. Yet expresses incredulity when the world fails to take its sexual ethic seriously. Culture War Christianity can only provide more entrenchment, more combat, and more pragmatism. But crucified Christianity is growing the world over, and—as it has always done— turning the world upside down.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Writing from Scotland, the author of the mentioned articles, wants to suggest a simple but humble invitation to venture into the wilderness as an act of faithfulness. For him,

the wilderness meant stepping out of the American pastorate, and out of America. This was my move made in faith. An attempt to combat the rise of cynicism in my own spirit, channeling it into meaningful, faithful action.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

From Moses, to Elijah, to Christ. Perhaps the wilderness is the place for those disenchanted and disillusioned, those disowned and disinherited from Culture War Christianity, to begin to see the Cross not as a symbol storming the US Capitol, but again as a place where our power grabs go to die. And where there is death to our ability to bring about change, God brings resurrection that changes everything.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

The Austrian philosopher and Roman Catholic priest known for his radical polemics arguing that the benefits of many modern technologies and social arrangements were illusory and that, still further, such developments undermined humans’ self-sufficiency, freedom, and dignity, Ivan Illich illumines what it is to be in the world, but not of it — just like Jesus.

Jared Stacy offers his words as a simple reflection in the conclusion to his series:

It is astonishing what the devil says: I have all power, it has been given to me, and I am the one to hand it on — submit, and it is yours. Jesus of course does not submit…Not for a moment, however, does Jesus contradict the devil. He does not question that the devil holds all power, nor that this power has been given to him, nor that he, the devil, gives it to whom he pleases. This is a point which is easily overlooked. By his silence Jesus recognizes power that is established as “devil” and defines Himself as The Powerless. He who cannot accept this view on power cannot look at establishments through the spectacle of the Gospel. This is what clergy and churches often have difficulty doing. They are so strongly motivated by the image of church as a “helping institution” that they are constantly motivated to hold power, share in it or, at least, influence it.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

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  20. Postalgia / Prostalgia – Is this as Good as it Gets?
  21. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
  22. Cultural Amnesia
  23. The Future of Governance
  24. False American Dream
  25. Thinking Critically about Marxism, Socialism and Communism (All in fewer than 1000 words!)
  26. The Missing Faith Dimension of the Capitalism vs. Socialism Debate
  27. A Broken system
  28. Psychological Warfare
  29. Humanities Retribution
  30. Walk The Path
  31. Reform or Revolution? A Debate (I)
  32. Reform or Revolution? A Debate (II)
  33. Editorial: what is humane socialism?
  34. The virtues of good, enlightened, accountable elitism
  35. The Radical Left Needs to Call into Question Existing Social Institutions at Every Opportunity, Part Four
  36. End of capitalism as we know it
  37. The Future is History
  38. The true believer
  39. Research Resources: Communism in America
  40. “A Spectre is Haunting Europe…”
  41. Finding the Ideal, Perfect Community
  42. So You Think Capitalism Is Evil
  43. Capitalism: The Ultimate Empowerment
  44. Capitalism: Misunderstood
  45. On the Current Conjuncture
  46. The discipled political church
  47. Veneration (Gilbert and Gilbert)
  48. Christianity and Idealism (Van Til)
  49. Brief Insights on Mastering Bible Doctrine (Heiser)
  50. A Field Guide on False Teaching
  51. Andrew McWilliams-Doty looks at evangelicals
  52. Evangelical: Leave It or Love It?
  53. How the term Evangelical has grown to blur theology and ideology
  54. Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics – An Interview
  55. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  56. Is it Time to Abandon “Evangelical?”
  57. Warped Christianity
  58. The 10 Commandments in American Culture
  59. Communist Infiltration, What Did Bella Dodd REALLY Know – YouTube
  60. German priest contradicts pope and backs pornography as sexual ‘relief’ for celibates | Catholic News Agency
  61. Sports Star to Be Jailed 10 Months for ‘Transphobic’ Message
  62. What is at stake in the buffer zone debate? | Isabel Vaughan-Spruce | The Critic Magazine
  63. Win for Christian ministry after judge refuses to strike out discrimination case – Christian Concern
  64. Watch the body language in this heated exchange yesterday between Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Chinese Emperor Xi 👀 | Not the Bee
  65. Episode 21 – Stella(r) (Hypo)Creasy and the Gov Crackdown on Free Speech – YouTube
  66. Senate advances same-sex marriage bill amid religious freedom concerns – Catholic World Report
  67. America/Brazl – After 50 years, the mission of Cimi is still “to defend with courage and prophecy the cause of the indigenous peoples” – Agenzia Fides
  68. The Christian Father -Conferences of the Men’s Group – YouTube

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Economical affairs, History, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs

The War to end all wars

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Preceding articles:

Reflections on the Great War #1 100 years on

Reflections on the Great War #2

Too Young To Fight?

Remembrance isn’t only about those who fought, but also those who refused

In Flanders Fields II – a new poem in response to the original

Lessons of the Somme

The Somme (1916) Working Class Holocaust

July 4, 1916 – Battle of the Somme greeted with ‘the greatest enthusiasm’

Gwalia military cemetery

Truth

A poem for #Somme100 

Remembering the Somme 100 years on

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Additional reading

  1. All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting… George Orwell
  2. Parade’s End and Saint Flora Castle
  3. 1914 – 2014 preparations
  4. 11 November, a day to remember #1 Until Industrialisation
  5. 11 November, a day to remember #2 From the Industrialisation
  6. Mons 2014 remembering the Great War
  7. Liège 2014 remembering the Great War
  8. August 4, 1914 to be remembered
  9. Honouring hundreds of thousands of victims of the brutal Somme battle
  10. Ulster Tower ceremony for the Irish at the Somme battle
  11. Aftermath
  12. Juncker warns for possible new war

+++

Related reading

  1. Your Land
  2. The Awakening of Humanity: An End to War … by Alice ..
  3. 1776: Independence for Some
  4. On this day
  5. July 1, 2016: The Somme Centennial
  6. July 1, 1916, The Battle of the Somme: General Haig’s Murderous “Great Push Forward”
  7. Monday 3rd July 1916
  8. Reader’s Corner: Tolkien on the Battlefield
  9. 4th of July , fireworks .
  10. A 4th of July Message to u.$. Imperialism!
  11. Mark Collins – “The Lord of the Rings’” Origin at the Bloody Somme
  12. Tuesday 4th July 1916
  13. WWI Parade on St.Neots Market Square
  14. Wednesday 5th July 1916
  15. Richmond WW1 Diary 5 July 1916
  16. Last soldier standing
  17. A wall to honor the victims of abortion would be 85 miles long…
  18. It is Time to Partition Bosnia: Not for the Politicians, but for the People
  19. Why are we killing?
  20. Countries established by the peace conference at Paris
  21. GU Treaty Officer starts war peace-talks between Iceandor and the Russian Remnant
  22. Aleppo soap
  23. An attack in the 2nd holiest site in Islam is a wake up call for everyone.
  24. Shocking new report: Bombing people causes people to hate you
  25. Do not go gentle into that good night
  26. The War Is On, The War Is Won…
  27. Vietnam Vision
  28. Poems to a Libyan Girl
  29. Is Tony Blair a War Criminal?
  30. How the Taliban and the US fell out of love
  31. Israel hits Syrian army after errant shells land near border
  32. Uganda’s president (Nigger Freemason) declares: Israel was right to carry out Entebbe raid

My Poetry

King George and Kaiser Bill did call
For men to stand up and be proud and tall
The volunteers queued all day
Not really knowing ahead what lay?

The crowds cheered and gave a wave
As the soldiers marched past feeling so brave
Marching off to war they went
Like lambs to the slaughter they were sent

Back at HQ the Generals stood
Hardly ever going near the mud
From Gallipoli in the east to the Somme in the west
They sent the orders out because they knew best

To fight a war on foreign soil
Every day giving blood, sweat, tears and toil
Waiting in the trenches full of mud
To be sent to no man’s land to spill their blood

And then the day finally came
When Kaiser Bill at last took the blame
The orders were sent out to end the kill
Then at the eleventh hour…

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, History, Poetry - Poems, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs

July 4, 1916 – Battle of the Somme greeted with ‘the greatest enthusiasm’

There’s no denying the effect of the murders. Austria-Hungary and its ally Imperial Germany rallied to the cause of war and one month later Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. The declaration drew Germany, Russia, France, Belgium, Montenegro and Great Britain shortly after. The worst war in human history up to that time was underway. Eventually, more than 9 million soldiers and 8 million civilians would die in the war. Millions more were maimed and wounded by killing that occurred on an industrial scale. Empires were wiped from the map, new nations emerged, and the world was reshaped by more upheaval than anything that had occurred since the fall of Rome. {The Great War changed everything}

Satirical drawing by R. Ferro [Cupidity – Greed]

Cupidity

– See more at: http://www.bl.uk/world-war-one/articles/the-debate-on-the-origins-of-world-war-one#sthash.uzXCjY4z.dpuf

Establishing the responsibility for the escalation of the July Crisis into a European war – and ultimately a world war – was paramount even before fighting had begun. The governments of Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary tried desperately to ensure that they did not appear to be the aggressor in July and August 1914. This was crucial because the vast armies of soldiers that would be needed to fight this war could not be summoned for a war of aggression. Socialists, of whom there were many millions by 1914, would not have supported a belligerent foreign policy, and could only be relied upon to fight in a defensive war. Populations would only rally and make sacrifices willingly if the cause was just – and that meant fighting a defensive war.The French and Belgians, Russians, Serbs and British were convinced they were indeed involved in a defensive struggle for just aims. Austrians and Hungarians were fighting to revenge the death of Franz Ferdinand. Germans were assured by their Kaiser, Wilhelm II, and their Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, that Germany’s neighbours had ‘forced the sword’ into its hands. {The debate on the origins of World War One}

War has no mercy for non of the parties involved. All going to the battlefields (or battlespace) bring misery to their families and others.

At one moment fighters are taken by excitement (uphory) at an other by dismay. Dejection belongs to all involved.

Experienced newspaper and magazine journalist who is currently the Director of the Leicester Centre for Journalism at De Montfort University, John Dilley, looks at the Great War whilst he conducts research into how local and national newspapers covered this first horrible experience which caught the whole world.

Today we should realise how people were used in the war-machine and how every time in such battles letters from loved ones are as important as bullets and shells for the the fighters serving in the battle places. At first they might have felt full  of energy and ambition but from their letters we know this changed quite quickly.

Cyril Newman, a lance corporal, wrote to his fiancée Winnie on receiving two letters from her:

“I feel a different person. Ten years younger – a hundred times lighter of heart. We all feel like this. The arrival of mail is vital to our happiness. ‘No Post’ gives us a kind of malaise.” {April 25, 1916 – Words of war play a vital role in saving sanity at the Front}

Though

Most of the letters were dull and repetitive but local papers did a fantastic job in spotting the extraordinary nuggets nestling among the ordinary exchange of everyday life. {April 25, 1916 – Words of war play a vital role in saving sanity at the Front}

He notices how The Daily Telegraph was typical in its eulogies saying:

“The British Empire has just sustained one of the heaviest losses which it has been called upon to bear during the whole war. The news came upon London yesterday like a crushing and senseless blow. The sorrow was unfeigned, the distress universal.” {June 13, 1916 – Grief-stricken nation mourns for Lord Kitchener sunk by the German Navy}

but also let us know how The Advertiser story gives an insight into how eagerly the public sought as many details as they could. The account goes on:

“The evening papers were quickly bought up and at first there were hopes that Lord Kitchener might be saved. {June 13, 1916 – Grief-stricken nation mourns for Lord Kitchener sunk by the German Navy}

For those who felt they could not go to the battle there was often (not to say in most of the cases) no understanding.

Cf1CpSRW4AA0RhA

This wonderful cartoon depicting a man trying to avoid First World War conscription before a Tribunal of local worthies sums up the working man’s lot in 1916. {April 18, 1916 – Laughter as men try to avoid WW1 conscription}

You may question how many listened to their inside voice or to the Words of God. And how many listened to those who  experienced the hell of German artillery.

“I had a narrow escape from at least a serious wound. I had my water bottle smashed by a piece of shrapnel. The following day I got my touch of gas – not badly – bit I felt it more as the time passed on.” {March 28, 1916 – Bells toll for mankind but peal for Fred Kilborn}

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Preceding articles

Reflections on the Great War #1 100 years on

Reflections on the Great War #2

Too Young To Fight?

Remembrance isn’t only about those who fought, but also those who refused

In Flanders Fields II – a new poem in response to the original

Lessons of the Somme

The Somme (1916) Working Class Holocaust

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Read also

  1. All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting… George Orwell
  2. Parade’s End and Saint Flora Castle
  3. 1914 – 2014 preparations
  4. 11 November, a day to remember #1 Until Industrialisation
  5. 11 November, a day to remember #2 From the Industrialisation
  6. Mons 2014 remembering the Great War
  7. Liège 2014 remembering the Great War
  8. August 4, 1914 to be remembered
  9. Honouring hundreds of thousands of victims of the brutal Somme battle
  10. Ulster Tower ceremony for the Irish at the Somme battle
  11. Aftermath
  12. Juncker warns for possible new war

+++

Related reading

  1. Anatomy of a World War I Artillery Barrage
  2. History is Personal 1916-2016
  3. One hundred years ago
  4. Centenary of the Battle of the Somme — July 1, 2016
  5. The Battle of the Somme
  6. Battle of the Somme – 100 Years
  7. 24 June 1916
  8. 25 June 1916
  9. 28 June 1916
  10. 29 June 1916
  11. 30 June 1916
  12. June 30, 1916
  13. 1 July 1916 – Somme
  14. Remembering Harry, a casualty of the Battle of the Somme
  15. The Last Day Of The Somme.
  16. The Lochnagar Mine
  17. The Absolutist by John Boyne – book review
  18. Review: The Great War (Sacco)
  19. The Great War changed everything
  20. Red Poppies
  21. Europe, war and the imagination

newspapers and the great war

Deeply moving events to commemorate one of the most infamous milestones of the First World War were held on Friday, exactly a century after the first British and French soldiers climbed out of the trenches at the Battle of the Somme.

We now know that July 1, 1916, was one of the bloodiest days in British military history. By nightfall, some 57,000 Commonwealth and 2,000 French soldiers had become casualties – more than 19,000 of whom had been killed.

The Battle of the Somme continued for another 140 days and when the offensive was halted in November, more than 1,000,000 Commonwealth, French and German soldiers had been wounded, captured, or killed.

Inevitably, the July 4, 1916, edition of the Market Harborough Advertiser did not report those terrible losses. However, despite the slowness of the technology a century ago, the editor manages to include the news sourced from an official Press…

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by | 2016/07/04 · 1:17 pm

Lessons of the Somme

Showing some photo’s from one of the display panels within the Thiepval Visitor Centre featuring photographs of some of the men who were commemorated on the memorial we should stand still by the millions of people who lost their lives, not only in World War I but also in World War II and the many battles which were fought on the battle fields in Europe. At last common sense brought the nations together working on a community of unity, the European Union, which now is back under threat.

The panel created in 2004 and consisting of 600 head and shoulders pictures which were selected to provide a fair representation of the 72,000 on the memorial are just a shade of men who had ideals, hopes and dreams, which were shattered to pieces in agony and despair by the cruelty which overtook them all.

Display panels in three languages — English, French and German — may provide an overview of the course of the Great War from 1914-1918, but it is the task to each sincere civilian and honest human being to spread the message of peace all over the world in their own mother tongue and show the world why that atrocity which took place 100 years ago may not happen again.

Today there are still millions of people dying because the greed to power and the aim to suppress others is still with the stealth of a tiger looking at the world and to malinger as a dangerous silent virus which has no mercy, bringing damage to both parties involved.

John Grant as Meticulous Mick writes from Cork in Ireland that he

was pleased to see that there were a number of school educational trips to these sites of historic importance.

all over Europe schools should have such trips in their curriculum. In Belgium is is an obligated element to make the youngsters aware of the dangers of prejudice against others, racism and undemocratic systems.

His blog was started on 13th May 2013 in order to explore some of his more creative skills that were just waiting to leap out. From his visits he presents his photographs and today we would like to ask you to loo at those of the battlefields.

In walking around the “Y-Trench” cemetery within the grounds of the Newfoundland Memorial at Beaumont Hamel, the largest area of the site of the battle that has been preserved of the Battle of the Somme, he was struck by the number of graves that all bore the date of that fateful first day of fighting, 1st July 1916. Of the 780 men of the Newfoundland Regiment that went over, only 68 were able to report for roll call the next day. Like many battlefields of the Great War many bodies could not be identified any more and lots of people could not be found.

For him

As much as the memorial was impressive, it was the preserved scars of war, the unmarked graves and the statistics that had the most effect on me. I was humbled. {100 Years On}

The Forward Trench at the site of the Somme, Beaumont Hamel

Trench Lines – Photo John Grant, working under the name of Meticulous Mick and JRCR Grant.

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Preceding

Honouring hundreds of thousands of victims of the brutal Somme battle

Ulster Tower ceremony for the Irish at the Somme battle

Aftermath

+++

Relating articles

  1. Battle Of The Somme.1
  2. The Battle of the Somme 2
  3. World War I History: ‘A Good Kick’ -The Story of the Ball That Led To One of The Bloodiest Battles in History
  4. What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
  5. World War I History: Slaughter on the Somme
  6. The Somme (1916) Working Class Holocaust
  7. July 1, 1916, the beginning of the Battle of the Somme
  8. 2/7/1916 The Somme: counting the cost, planning the next steps
  9. Neville, George Henry. Died 2nd Jul 1916
  10. Monday July 3, 1916
  11. Day 3 of 141 days of the Battle of the Somme 1916-2016 100 years
  12. 3/7/1916 The Somme: a failed night attack
  13. White, William Samuel. Died 3rd Jul 1916
  14. Collins, Henry Edward. Died 3rd Jul 1916
  15. July 4, 1916 – Battle of the Somme greeted with ‘the greatest enthusiasm’
  16. “My darling, au revoir.” – War diaries of Captain Charles May | GM 1914
  17. Rugby and the Battle of the Somme: the International Players who Died
  18. The Young Lost in the Somme
  19. The Last Day Of The Somme.
  20. The Battle of the Somme remembered at Camberley’s war memorail
  21. 19,240 Shrouds at Exeter
  22. 19240
  23. We are here
  24. The Battle of Fromelles : 19 July 1916
  25. Remembering the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme
  26. Whitgift School commemorates Battle of the Somme Centenary
  27. In the Field – The Battle of the Somme (100 not out)
  28. Remembrance day
  29. A day late, but…
  30. 3 Days, 3 Quotes | Day 2
  31. The Somme
  32. Flodden
  33. Recalling visits to WW1 Battle of the Somme war memorials
  34. Change, My Dear
  35. Letters From A Lost Generation – First World War Letters of Vera Brittain and Four Friends
  36. A Series of Unrelated Traditions
  37. roadside
  38. An Invasion of Lilies
  39. And Winter Descended
  40. A sombre day

Meticulous Mick

I myself was quite unsure about visiting the site of the Battle of the Somme. I did not know how I would feel, what emotions it might stir.

Having now been, I am unequivocal in recommending that people should go to such sites. In reality, visiting these sites did more than any book might convey and brought the message sharply home; the futility and waste that war brings.

These lessons need to be passed on, generation to generation. It was in that regard that I was pleased to see that there were a number of school educational trips to these sites of historic importance.

The Thiepval Memorial itself contains the names of 72,195 British and South African soldiers “missing” in the Battle of the Somme.

We all need to learn.

Note: Images of the soldiers were taken at the Thiepval Memorial, Flanders, France.

Credit: Statistical information taken from Wikipedia

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by | 2016/07/04 · 11:46 am

Summermonths and consumerism

Summertime seems to have difficulties to show her face this year. Over a few days the days will shorten again and we did not have yet some real good nice warm days.

In the supermarkets they feel the consumption of meat not taking off like they want and therefore they are presenting special bargain prices, advertising against other trying to present the cheapest products. If they would be the best products would be an other matter. Also if they would be produced in a decent ethical way is for many of no concern.

We can imagine Middle School teacher Bob James throughout the year has to face his pupils with all sorts of gadgets, disturbed and tempted by lots of consumer products and market activities.

Real teachers do find it necessary to help others. Bob James also is firmly convinced that all of us need to be more proactive in helping others.

We need to help them when disaster strikes, when they are recovering and then when developing their lives to be the people that God intended them to be. We are meant to be independent of all except for God. On Him alone should we be dependent. Thus, as I seek to help others, I seek to move beyond mere relief and am focusing on rehabilitation and reconciliation. We are to be reconciled with God, with our fellow human beings and with our environment. If any one of these is missing, we will have problems. This is a tall order, but I will always seek to bring reconciliation. {About Me}

He, like many teachers are daily confronted with the non-interest for God, is probably also seeing that today the kids, but also their parents, have made new gods and have more interest in the material belongings than the spiritual.

The Human Use of Human Beings

The Human Use of Human Beings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In previous articles on this blog we pointed out to this behaviour which is destroying our society like CO poisoning, not seen, not smelled, not heard. We are living in a society where eyes are directed on gaining capital, even if we need not to take notice of necessary protection for man or do not mind bringing shortage or harm to others, to get more money.

Our economy is based on consumerism. Ads are designed to appeal to people like me and make me not just want, but Need, the latest thing – whether that be a soft drink or the latest model car. {June 8 – What I Really Need}

In the years straight after the World Wars people seemed to know again the value of the necessities of life. Folks appreciated again the small things. (We remember sitting with three on a bench, having one study book, which we savoured like the best we could have to receive knowledge. We never wanted to have it for ourselves alone and where pleased when we could share things with others.) They were pleased with what they could get. They also wanted to show to others who they were and used their cloths to present their identity.

Today everybody seems to be hiding behind their clothes. They now have to be from one or the other brand, design and colour which is in fashion. All want to belong to the group and hide their own self behind brands which are ‘in’. Everything must be dictated by the market. Nobody wants to go against what the market dictates.

English: RedEye Sailboat Category:Images of Ch...

RedEye Sailboat one of the things people like to have for enjoying themselves and to show off (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Summer this is made even more clear by everybody wanting to go in the garden and show off with what the market advertises and wants to press on everybody. As such, once it is beautiful weather, we can not sit outdoors without having to smell all the combustion products, from the people who do not know how to use properly those advertised and bought barbecue sets.

Having holiday also became equivalent to travelling. When people to day are saying they go on holiday, they mostly mean and want the other person to think they are going to travel abroad. For many taking a holiday in the own garden or in the own country is not having a holiday any more. The market made them to believe to relax and to take vacation or to take leave has to be going abroad and spending a lot of money at enjoyment, entertainment parks, luxury meals and pampering and health treatments.

People have to believe they only count in this society when they can show that they are using the latest gadgets and are ‘by the time’. All people who have not the newest things are ‘old’ or ‘out of date’. They best are ignored or put aside, as not being the right people to associate with. Or they are laughed at as old fashioned or ‘nerds’.

Bob James remarks:

How easily we buy the latest thing and throw away the old. One of the problems is that we not only throw away things, we also tend to throw away people or relationships if they don’t “meet our needs.” {June 8 – What I Really Need}

Those needs have become very selfish. Everything is directed to the ‘I’ and to the ‘what can I gain from this relationship’. Most people want to associate with other people in such a way that they may be sure others will find them interesting for the knowledge and acquaintances of such people. Most relations are build on the use they can provide for the self. Not the giving away has become important, nor the meaning something for some one else, but the meaning for the person him or herself, has become the landmark.

Clearly the focus of most people came on to the wrong things. This also made many relationships not last and break down. Often we see the other person has become of no real value, when not usable any more. We see that at work. As son as a person gets to ‘old’ or to ‘experienced’ and to ‘expensive because of ‘seniority’ he is made redundant.

But also the material things do not get time to stay in use as valuable. As soon there is a new model, the old one is considered as ‘passée’ .
Most people have placed their mind on things which are disposable.

What we should be thinking about is not “things,” but people. {June 8 – What I Really Need}

writes Bob James.

What we should be focusing on more than anything is our relationship with God. {June 8 – What I Really Need} (Though in his article gives a quote about focussing on Jesus, who is not God but the son of God, but who also deserves our attention.)

Today, we can see that a lot of people who are debtors to the material things of this world. Most have forgotten that their body should be a temple, a place for clean things. Natural products for many are a laugh-stock. Biological products for many are either for the ‘loonies’ or have become a way to show off, because they are much more expensive and a way to proof they can afford it and belong to such a class of people, having enough money to buy such things.

Instead of respect for nature and respect for the Creator of all those things man shows more interest to the highly perishable idols presented on television and more and more on the internet, which brings totally new sorts of idols in the living room. All those living according to flesh, often forget that they too, like anybody else, are going to die, but if in spirit they kill the deeds of the body, and that they have much better prospects. For those who live in the spirit can find real intense worthwhile life.

Part of our problem with this issue is that our desires have been made to seem like needs. If we began each day with a focus on Jesus Christ, many of those things we think are “needs” would be shown to be desires. {June 8 – What I Really Need}

Christ Jesus is the man of flesh and blood who gave the world an example how to live according to the will of the Only One God, Whom we should consider the Most High and the Most Valuable. Jesus knew he could not do anything without God. Jesus never did his own will but always wanted to do the Will of God.  Today most consider God a flaw or useless invention.

Lots of people, having all those modern gadgets still do not feel happy. Having so many things they do not yet feel satisfied. They still have a hunger …

They are starving for the real better thing which they do not seem to see by the mist of consumerism. Lots of people are running into problems when they work so hard to take care of all their desires for material things, that they forget to spend more time to build up good relations.

Most people do not see or forget about what they really need.

Bob James thinks about a strong relationship with Jesus Christ, but seems to forget an even more important relationship, namely that with the heavenly Father of Jesus, the Only One True God.

This world needs to find the way back to God. It has lost connection with the Creator. The world has become strayed. We have to take care we become not astray by the temptations around us.

Keep your eyes on Jesus and as such find the Way to God and the way to God’s Kingdom.

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Preceding articles:

Lonely in the crowd

Misleading world, stress, technique, superficiality, past, future and positivism

Less… is still enough

Less for more

Contentment: The five senses

How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace

See the conquest and believe that we can gain the victory

The Cares of Life

The natural beauties of life

Engagement in an actual two-way conversation with your deities

Just be yourself…

A Snippet of Advice on Cultural Analysis

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Find additional literature:

  1. Capitalism
  2. Increasing wealth gap of immense proportions in the Capitalist World
  3. Classes of people and Cronyism
  4. Uncertainty, shame and no time for vacillation
  5. Because men choose to go their own way
  6. Welfare state and Poverty in Flanders #9 Consumption
  7. A risk taking society
  8. What IF you’re only driven by stress?
  9. Ecological economics in the stomach #2 Resources
  10. How do you keep people from stealing your joy?
  11. 2014 Social contacts
  12. Justififiable anger or just anarchism
  13. Ability for a community to come back from a crisis
  14. Green Claims in Europe
  15. Greenpeace demands scale up of ecological farming
  16. Happy International Happiness Day!
  17. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  18. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  19. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  20. Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite
  21. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  22. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  23. Lovers of God, seekers and lovers of truth
  24. Fools despise wisdom and instruction
  25. In a world which knows no peace sharing blessed hope
  26. The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places
  27. Cleanliness and worrying or not about purity
  28. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  29. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  30. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  31. Bringing Good News into the world
  32. How should we preach?
  33. Thanksgiving wisdom: Why gratitude is good for your health
  34. Food as a Therapeutic Aid
  35. Remember there’s a light in the next day
  36. It is a free will choice
  37. To know Christ is filling life with meaning
  38. Heed of the Saviour
  39. Songs in the night Worship God only
  40. Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

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Poppy Day 2014

We like to present some photo’s from Remembrance Sunday of the poppies at The Tower of London, reminding that the poppy has been a symbol of remembrance in Britain since World War I. For them it reminds of death while in Belgium it reminds us of life. We can imagine those on the battle field, seeing all the dirty water and brown earth full of corpses, and then at spring those beautiful flowers coming up and giving a sign of life on that earth of dead.

When a poem from the era recalled the fragile flower melding with the dead in Flanders, Queen Elizabeth II observed the two-minute silence privately at the English ceremony.

The last few days several remembrance ceremonies also took place in Belgium in the medieval town of Ypres, where the buglers of the Last Post under the Menin Gate played their haunting tribute to the dead, but also in the cities of Liege, Mons and Leuven, were leaders from all over the world paid their tribute for the fallen.

Ever since the start of the centenary in August, the buglers at the massive gate have drawn large crowds of tourists and pilgrims. The gate’s vaulted ceiling lists the names of more than 54,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who lost their lives during World War I and have no known grave.

Artificial "remembrance poppies" at ...

Artificial “remembrance poppies” at a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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  • tower of london ceramic poppies (onenewspage.us)
    As the United Kingdom commemorates the lives of servicemen who paid the ultimate price in the Great War, the final poppy representing a fallen soldier was laid. In all, volunteers put in countless man hours to lay […]
  • Tower of London’s stunning poppy installation creates national sensation (washingtonpost.com)
    The poppy exhibition at the Tower of London has become a national sensation, with some 4 million people expected to have seen it by the time the last of the 888,246 poppies — one for every Commonwealth soldier who died in the First World War — is planted on Nov. 11, the day the war ended in 1918. The throngs of onlookers were so thick this past weekend that organizers asked visitors to postpone their trip.While the Great War is not on the minds of many Americans, here it remains profoundly relevant. The government has pledged $80 million for four years of events to commemorate the centenary. There have already been numerous official and non-official events — new books, plays, museum exhibitions, a massive “lights out” event — but the popularity of the “Blood Swept Lands And Seas of Red” poppy installation stands out.
  • Army Cadet honoured by laying final poppy at Tower of London on Armistice Day (telegraph.co.uk)
    French President Francois Hollande laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier under Paris’ Arc de Triomphe. Later, he will head to northern France to inaugurate an international war memorial at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette in the presence of German, British and Belgian officials. The Ring of Memory carries the names of 600,000 soldiers who died in the region during the war. Names are listed alphabetically without their nationalities.
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    In Britain, thousands gathered at the Tower of London, where a blood-red sea of ceramic poppies has spilled into the moat as part of an art installation paying tribute to soldiers killed in the fighting.
    A 13-year-old army cadet, Harry Hayes, planted the final poppy – the last of the 888,246 glass flowers – one for each of the British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in the war. Among the dead was Hayes’ great-great-great uncle, Pvt. Patrick Kelly of the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards.”It is an amazing honor,” Hayes told Sky News. “Seeing all these poppies and I managed to plant the last one.”
  • New First World War memorial unveiled in France remembers those who perished on both sides (ww1.canada.com)
    The morning sun picks out and burnishes hundreds of thousands of names engraved on an ellipse of tall and regimented golden metal sheets. It rises to salute the Asbachs and Behrens, Bartons and Beastons, the Adolfs and Alfreds, Roberts and Johns, the Georges and the Jean-Baptistes slaughtered in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais during the Great War.They are all remembered in the compelling new International Memorial of Notre Dame de Lorette, a “Ring of Remembrance” at Ablain-Saint-Nazaire north-west of Arras.

    Among so many German, French and British names, my fingers trace that of Gabar Sing Negi VC, 21, of the 2/39th Garwhal Rifles. Born and raised in sight of the Himalayas, he died 6,400 kilometres from home in what soldiers on all sides called the “cemetery” of Flanders and the Artois, and news reporters as “Hell in the North”.
    French chief of staff General Benoit Puga walks along the Memorial, Tuesday Nov. 11, 2014, during the inauguration of the International Memorial of Notre Dame de Lorette, where the names of the 580,000 soldiers who died in northern France during WW1 are listed alphabetically without nationality or rank. The First World War military cemetery of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette is located in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, northern France. Francois Hollande hosted German and British officials for Armistice Day events in Paris and northern France, as Europe marks the centenary of the First World War with an emphasis on unity and cooperation.

  • 100 Years: Armistice Day in London (annecarolinedrake.com)
    Because it is difficult for most of us to wrap our heads around the millions of people who died during WWI, set designer Tom Piper created Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red.  Ceramic artist Paul Cummin and legions of volunteers created 888,246 hand-made, individualized poppies to serve as tribute to each British Commonwealth soldier who died during WWI.Spill of poppies from the Tower of London

     

Echoes of the Past

Photos’s from our visit last Sunday of the poppies at The Tower of London.  The fade photo of the young man with his brother is James Martin, my uncle who died in WW2 in Holland just before the end of the war, it was his 21st birthday.  This is the only photograph there is of this brave young man and he was my mothers big brother, whom she loved dearly.  The photo of his headstone was taken in Holland some 40 years ago, I have visited his grave twice and what was lovely is that families in Holland used to look after a grave of a soldier.  I’m not sure if this happens anymore, but it was wonderful being taken by the family to see the grave.

The other photos of a WW1 solider is my Mother’s father, also James Martin, he survived the war, but was shot in the…

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by | 2014/11/13 · 5:28 pm

In Flanders Fields II – a new poem in response to the original

Each year in Europe first they have November 1 and 2 and then 11 when suddenly graves have to be cleaned , flowers to be put on the graves and services are held to remember the deceased.

November the 11th takes a special place because then not only the dead are remembered but also those who nearly lost their life or those whose life came to a standstill or got broken for ever, though not many are conscious about that damage done in the deepest of their heart.

On Remembrance Day or Armistice day we want to remember that war came to an end, but many forget war is still going on in many countries. Many families all over the world are torn by grief. A never ending sorrow has come over humanity.

100 years after the beginning of the Great War we should seriously reconsider how we want to solve the world problems and would seriously work for getting peace to be something everybody in the world can share.

Who we take the time to reflect on the cost of our freedom is around that time the issue of the day, but for the rest of the year, we largely take that freedom for granted.

Bryan Ens reacted on the current situation with the original poem, by penned by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae in 1915 the day following the death of his friend, Alexis Helmer, in his mind.

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Preceding articles:

Reflections on the Great War #1 100 years on

Reflections on the Great War #2

On Veteran’s Day

Janice Brittain’s music version of In Flanders fields

On the 11th hour…

Remembrance isn’t only about those who fought, but also those who refused

Too Young To Fight?

Royal British Legion poppy

Royal British Legion poppy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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  • Soldiers’ real stories are the best defence against Remembrance Day conditioning | Paul Daley (theguardian.com)
    This year, yet again, the keepers of our national myths will tell us that the soldiers of the “Great War” have passed from life into our collective memory.Some of us knew a first world war soldier. But, a century after the war began, for most of us who’ll stop today to mark a minute’s silence for Remembrance Day, the soldiers of the first world war long ago passed into – or always have been part of – our imaginations rather than our memories.

    Good men, all, and brave too, we have long been assured, were those who were “lost” to the war. The fog of hindsight has inaccurately rendered them a rarefied, almost saintly, generation, whose terrible experiences have become cloaked in benign euphemism and cliché.

  • Remembrance Day (wattlerangenow.com.au)
    From a population of under five million; 417,000 enlisted, 332,000 served overseas, 152,000 were wounded and 61,000 never came home.
    It was sacrifice on a stupendous scale.
    After the Armistice, we vowed never to forget and today, we renew that vow.
  • Palmer dismisses Lambie over Remembrance Day Coalition snub (sbs.com.au)
    The Tasmanian Senator has urged the public to turn their backs on any Coalition politicians speaking at Remembrance Day commemorations, as a protest against a wage offer made to Australian Defence Force members.”This Remembrance Day I invite all Australians, including our Veterans, to turn their backs on Government members if they are silly enough to give speeches, pretending that they care for our military families,” she said.

    “Their actions regarding defence pay clearly show that they don’t care or they are cowards.”

  • Final Tower of London poppy ‘planted’ on Armistice Day (onenewspage.us) (video)
    A young army cadet lays the final poppy at the Tower of London as Britain marks an especially poignant Armistice Day, 100 years since the start of the First World War.
  • Jessica Murphy – DC honours Great War, Remembrance Day (sunnewsnetwork.ca)
    The brainchild of the British Embassy in the U.S. capital, a Sunday service to commemorate Remembrance Day at the Washington National Cathedral brought together countries on both sides of the First World War.”On the centennial it seemed appropriate to try to do it on a bigger canvas and bring in as many and to involve as many of the nations who had a key role in the war as possible,” said British Major General Buster Howes.

    “As much as anything it’s in the spirit of reconciliation, those who fought in 1914 are now, largely speaking, allies and friends.”

  • Former PM Howard to mark Remembrance Day (news.com.au)
    Liberal MP Sharman Stone, whose Victorian electorate of Murray had six Victoria Cross recipients in WWI, has encouraged people to pause at 11am and remember those who suffered or died during wars. “It is just as important to think about those who are serving our country overseas now. We still have troops in Afghanistan who are helping the Afghan army and we have troops on advise-and-assist roles in Iraq,” she said.
  • Remembrance Day across Quebec (cbc.ca)
    “I’m glad to see so many people turn out,” said Jason MacCallum, a former military reservist. “I think it’s the largest crowd I’ve seen in years actually out today.”In St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 1,500 soldiers and observers took part in an emotional commemoration.
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    More than 650,000 men and women from Canada and Newfoundland served in the war.

    Approximately 66,000 died and 172,000 were wounded.

  • Lest We Forget (collinesblog.com)
    During my first year in in the city, I never understood why people wore red flowers on the lapels of their coats. It was only after a few years that I came to understand. The moment of understanding was definitely the case of children teaching the adult: my children were able to explain to me why they came home bringing the imitations of the red flowers with them as they had been taught the reasons at school.
  • Australia Marks 96th Anniversary Of The End Of World War One (realnewsone.com)
    When the Great War started Australia had a population of under five million. 417,000 Australians enlisted, 332,000 served overseas, 152,000 were wounded and 61,000 never came home.
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    In related news Clive Palmer has criticised Jackie Lambie for wanting to use Remembrance Day as a political protest against the Government for the appalling wage offer and stripping back of the army’s conditions. Mr Palmer has said “All Australians, particularly politicians, should show the utmost respect on RemembranceDay. It is never a day for political actions”
  • Remembrance Day (edwardbrainblog.wordpress.com)
    If you are grateful for the freedoms we enjoy in Canada, thank a veteran.
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    Canada remembers the sacrifices of all our military personnel, especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Your duty and sacrifice will not be forgotten.
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  • In Flanders Fields II – a new poem in response to the original
    One of the great poems. We honor the great Poets by reading their words.
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    A Sergeant Joyce Kilmer poem and one of my poems.

Quest for Whirled Peas

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
Is heard on each Remembrance Day
And on that day, with heads bowed low
We think of those who fought the foe
“We will remember”, we all say

Yet in that pose, we do not stay
And soon enough we walk away
To let forgotten poppies blow
In Flanders Fields

Those young men died, so that today
In freedom we can work and play
They paid a hefty price, and so
Let’s not forget the debt we owe
To those who will forever stay
In Flanders Fields

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The original poem, by penned by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae in 1915 the day following the death of his friend, Alexis Helmer.

In Canada, his poem is read at Remembrance Day services (November 11) each year.  My poem was written in response to the fact that for one day out of each year, we take the…

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A war with an end

Remember

  • soldiers who have served and fallen, especially those who served in World War One.
  • Veterans Day began as a peace celebration on November 11, 1918, with the end of the pitiless conflict known as World War One.
  • signing of a multinational peace agreement, or Armistice, triggered massive spontaneous jubilees in many places worldwide.  In Europe, the States, Canada, even New Zealand and Australia, vast crowds gathered in the ceremonial centers of cities to cheer the end of a struggle that had cost the warring nations many millions of lives.
  • Once US had entered the war: Over a million men were mobilized >  By the end of the war, 18 months later, American forces had suffered some 320,000 casualties, the majority being wounded, with tens of thousands being lost to death and disease.
  • Being at war demanded something from all society, taxing the economy to its limits and requiring sacrifice on the part of civilians, as the signs around the Philadelphia square suggest.

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  • US Pays Annual Tribute to Military Veterans (voanews.com)
    A free concert in Washington broadcast around the world capped off the Veterans Day celebration in the United States.

    Hundreds of thousands came out for the first-ever Concert for Valor, featuring such superstars as Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood and Eminem.

    The concert was aimed at raising awareness of the problems American servicemen and servicewomen face when they return home and leave the military.

    One disabled Vietnam War veteran said the show marked the first time he’d ever felt honored for his service.

    The show climaxed a day of events across the country saluting U.S. veterans of all wars.

  • A Huge Collection Of Photographs From World War One (youviewed.com)
    Canadian machine gunners dig themselves in, in shell holes on Vimy Ridge.
    See all 89 pictures at American Heroes
  • In Flanders Fields and Other Poems of Remembrance Day (teleread.com)
    The poppy has become a symbol of remembrance in Canada, and most schoolchildren have the poem memorized by the time they finish primary school.

    I was interested to note that when I spent the year in New Zealand—a fellow Commonwealth country—many moons ago for graduate school, they had a different poem for their Remembrance Day services. “For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon was their standard.

  • Is There a Better Way To Observe Veterans Day? (defenseone.com)
    This year’s Veterans Day is particularly significant, accompanying not just the centenary of World War I, but also the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. It is also the first U.S. military holiday since the Obama administration launched a new offensive, however limited, against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Such circumstances would seem to call for contemplation of the costs and consequences of conflict. And yet, as on every Veterans Day, many Americans will do little or nothing to commemorate the occasion.
  • Is There a Better Way to Observe Veterans Day? (theatlantic.com)
    In the United Kingdom and Canada, people customarily wear a red poppy—a nod to the poppies that dotted the battlefields of the First World War—on their jacket lapel or blouse on Armistice Day in tribute to those who have died in military service. In a nationwide survey of adults by Viewsbank, a U.K. consumer-research firm, more than 80 percent of respondents said that they planned to wear the poppy this year. In Canada, more than half of the population usually wears the poppy, according to the Royal Canadian Legion. The U.K. and Canada also observe a two-minute moment of silence at 11 a.m. on November 11 (as with Veterans Day in the U.S., the British and Canadian holidays mark the World War I armistice of November 11, 1918)—a practice that workplaces and schools follow across both countries. In Russia, many people observe a minute of silence on May 9 (Russia’s Victory Day, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe) as it is broadcast on television and radio stations, according to Natalia Moroz of the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Washington, D.C. Israelis observe moments of silence on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust remembrance day) and Yom Hazikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day), with drivers going so far as to pull over to the side of the road and stand at attention as sirens sound across the country.
  • Veterans Day is one confusing holiday (stripes.com)
    yes, it is a holiday — unlike some of those quasi-holiday observances we sometimes confuse with the real deal, such as Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween. Veterans Day is a federal holiday. However, it is not a holiday that everybody takes.
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    Now, what is the correct way to write this holiday? Is it

    A. Veteran’s Day
    B. Veterans’ Day
    C. Veterans Day

    The correct answer is C. Veterans Day. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs explains that if the word were to have an apostrophe it would imply the day belongs to a single veteran (Veteran’s) or all veterans (Veterans’). But the holiday is not possessed by anybody. It is a holiday to honor veterans — therefore it is plural (Veterans).

  • Armistice Day (phylor.wordpress.com)
    Before WWII, most nations had renamed the day. In 1931, the United States made November 11th All Veterans Day, then shortened to Veterans Day.

    It is a day to remember veterans; those who have served and continue to serve their country. At 11:00 am, many nations observe a minute or two of silence in honour.
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  • Meaning of Veterans Day (onenewspage.us)
    The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War i when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words: veteran’s give up a 3 lot to serve our country — how do they feel about our celebration of veteran’s day? how has america’s treatment of veteran’s changed over the YEARS?Veterans have been treated very differently depending on the way in which they fought.For example — after the Vietnam War, veterans were treated very badly, since public opinion of the war was so low.

American Inquiry

Massive crowds gathered around a replica of the Statue of Liberty near Philadelphia's city hall to celebrate news of the Armistice, November 11, 1918.
On this day, many nations pause to remember their war dead, the soldiers who have served and fallen, especially those who served in World War One.

What the US celebrates as Veterans Day began as a peace celebration on November 11, 1918, with the end of the pitiless conflict known as World War One.  The announcement that the war had ended with the signing of a multinational peace agreement, or Armistice, triggered massive spontaneous jubilees in many places worldwide.  In Europe, the States, Canada, even New Zealand and Australia, vast crowds gathered in the ceremonial centers of cities to cheer the end of a struggle that had cost the warring nations many millions of lives.

This marvelous photograph shows Philadelphians celebrating the word of peace that day.  Horrible as the war was, the photograph conveys a feeling of pride, even as it commemorates a sort of war unfamiliar to…

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Too Young To Fight?

Hate against some other nation or love to take revenge may bring people a long way from human sense.

After two great wars, where so many countries were involved and so much blood was shed, still lots of people do not realise how ridiculous it is to have so much lives being offered for showing the ‘right for power’. Still today we can see that in many countries war is still romanticized and lots of people do find it an honour to have their sons going to war. Today in this world we can still find lots of child soldiers, and when it is not for the right country people find it horrible, but when it is for the ‘right country’ or ‘the right cause’ people find them heroes.
For sure it has to do with some form of making value judgements about the rightness of the cause , by our twisted minds.

Today children are also often sold into a kind of modern-day slavery. In Raqqa, where poverty is rampant, Isis persuades parents to send their children to the camps in exchange for money, according to Abu Ibrahim Raqqawi, the pseudonym of a 22-year-old man who lived in Syria until recently. He is the founder of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a Twitter account and Facebook page.

In Iraq’s Mosul, which was taken over by IS gunmen in June, IS has replaced physical-education classes in local schools with martial-arts classes. A teacher in the city told Bloomberg that IS militants explained that “they need Mosul’s students to be the future soldiers of the caliphate.” Another Mosul resident, named as Abu Rawan, said that his 13-year-old nephew had been recruited by IS militants, who had given him a gun.

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To remember:

Commonwealth Military Cemetery at Essex Farm, near Ypres, Belgium: grave of V.J. Strudwick, killed in action January 14, 1916 at age 15.

Joe Strudwick: 6’1”, in all probability adult sized and willing to enlist; he said he was 19 and they either believed him or looked the other way. => not the lone child soldier of the Great War
his age was discovered before he reached the battlefield and he was de-mobilized.

Older men more likely to question validity of a war, more likely to have family responsibilities and less likely to unquestioningly volunteer for combat.

Young men romanticize war, older men know better.

Perhaps as many as 250,000 child soldiers, those not old enough to officially enlist, saw combat during the First World War. Probably more than that are serving today in conflicts around the world.

The United Nations has strict rules on military service for those under 18 that all member states are expected to follow.

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  • Video: South Sudan’s child soldier problem (bbc.co.uk)
    Children in the world’s youngest country of South Sudan are being forced to fight on both sides of a bloody civil war.

    The United Nations estimates that there are 11,000 child soldiers in South Sudan, where there has been a lull in the fighting, as peace talks continue between government, and rebel forces.

  • Boko Haram Using Child-Soldiers , Women As Human Shields (newsdiaryonline.com)
    Nigerian troops are concerned about the use of women as human shields as well as children as child-soldiers by Boko Haram militants in their quest to weaken military operations. A top security source in the North-East disclosed that the terrorists recruit, rape and kill some of the young captives who are reluctant to join them in their dastardly acts. In most cases, children and teenagers are forced to be in the forefront in the battle against the Nigerian troops through ambushing and suicide bombing.
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    On several occasions the Nigerian military has captured  children who were forced to take up arms against the state with some of them behaving abnormally  due to indoctrination and inducement through the use of hard drugs.

    The security source said “we are being cautious in abiding by the rules of engagement even when we are aware that the militants recruit children for spying on us and pushing them to engage in hostilities against innocent citizens and the troops. “Most of the children, especially teenagers were recruited through abduction, kidnapping and enticement with money after which they undergo brainwashing and combat training. Those that are unwilling to cooperate are punished or summarily executed.”

  • You: Afghan Parliament approves draft law to ban recruitment of child soldiers (nation.com.pk)
    The endorsement of the draft law by Afghan lawmakers comes as numerous national and international organizations criticized the Afghan government over recruitment of child soldiers. The draft law was sent to the Afghan parliament by the ministry of justice of Afghanistan around two weeks ago. Consisting of seven articles, the law was endorsed by the majority during the general session after review by parliamentary commissions.

    The law strictly prohibits the recruitment of children in security agencies, with one to seven years of imprisonment on violation. The Afghan Government reconfirmed its commitment with the endorsement of a ‘Road Map Towards Compliance,’ in August this year which laid down 15 measures to fully implement an Action Plan signed with the United Nations in 2011.

  • Boko Haram using child-soldiers, women as human shields (dailypost.ng)
    “We have lost our men in the battle-field while we tried to avoid shooting children and teenagers who are forced to confront us. How do you expect us to arrest a child with a gun? Do we accord such an armed under-age combatant with the status of a child deserving of protection under the rule of engagement?

    “It may become inevitable that some collateral damages may be recorded if we get the order especially because Boko Haram elements were using civilians as human shields to continue to gain undue advantages in the current battle in the North East.

    “However, much as troops are determined to avoid collateral damage, it has become inevitable to be decisive with armed underage combatants and female suicide bombers with the situation degenerating by the day.

  • Britain’s child soldiers: should the enlistment age be raised? (theweek.co.uk)
    Campaigners are taking legal action over the terms of enlistment for minors in the British army, accusing the Ministry of Defence of “exploiting” young recruits.

    Child Soldiers International (CSI) is calling for a judicial review over what it calls “unethical and unlawful age discrimination”. Their lawyers argue that soldiers who enlist at 16 are forced to serve for longer under army rules.

    Teenagers cannot see active service until they are 18, but all soldiers must be available for deployment for four years. So a 16-year-old who joins the army cannot leave until that are 22.

    “These young soldiers will be forced to put their lives on the line against their will during those two extra years, all because of a decision they made at 16 and later regretted,” said CSI director Richard Clarke.

    The latest move by the campaign group has reignited the debate about the enlistment age in the UK and comes as an independent survey found that 78 per cent of people believe it should be raised. “There is overwhelming public support in this country for a minimum enlistment age of 18,” said Clarke.

    The UK is the only country in Europe and the only country among the permanent members of the UN Security Council to recruit 16-year-olds into its armed forces. It is also just one of 17 countries in the world to do so, alongside North Korea, Pakistan and Iran.

  • Isis Child Soldiers Used as Suicide Bombers and Human Shields (ibtimes.co.uk)
    Speaking to reporters at the U.N., he said the fighters “appeal” to some of the youngsters and that they have approved adept at “manipulating young men and children.” He explained that “they project an image of being victorious”.

    They impress upon the children the importance of fighting and dying for their faith. and offer the pledge that those who die in the fray will “go straight to heaven.”

    Not everyone is in favour of children going into battle. “What is striking for me is to meet mothers who [tell us], ‘We don’t know what to do,'” said Simonovic. “Our sons are volunteering and we can’t prevent it.”

    At the camps, the children who are barely bigger than AK47s, are taught how to fire and load weapons. According to Syria Deeply website, they are shown the best ways to behead someone, using dolls as practice.

    The effectiveness of child soldiers as fighters is obviously not as great as adults, so they are used in other ways. Chillingly, they have value as human shields and also to provide blood transfusions for Isis militants, according to Shelly Whitman, the executive director of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.

  • Five Year Old Fighters and Girls Sold as Slaves – Videos Show Disturbing Evidence of Life in the Islamic State (breitbart.com)
    Charlie Winter, a spokesman for anti-extremist think tank The Quilliam Foundation said: “This video is yet more evidence of Islamic State seeking to indoctrinate children from a very young age in an attempt to entrench its hold over the region. Such footage is worrying, in particular because it renders apparent the fact that IS’ legacy will be long-term, even if it was to collapse tomorrow.”

    Another video documents men bartering over Yazidi slaves. Sitting on sofas in a living room, a man wearing a white cap turns to the camera and says “Today is slave market day. Today is the day where this verse – “… except with their wives and the (captives) whom their right hands possess, for (then) they are not to be…” today is distribution day, God willing. Each one takes his share.”

  • ‘IS: The Next Generation’? Militants Recruit Children (rferl.org)
    Abu Usama is not playing at being an Islamic State militant. He is one of the extremist group’s child fighters. IS social media lauded him as the youngest fighter to guard the front lines in the Syrian town of Kobani, which IS has besieged.

    Over the past weeks, more and more reports have emerged with evidence that IS militants are providing military training to schoolchildren in Syria and Iraq.

    Other reports claim that the extremist group is also using children as young as 13 as fighters.

  • Cubs of the Caliphate: ISIS Trains Boys to Go to Battle (nbcnews.com)

    Some graduates of the camps are used as human shields and suicide bombers. Other wee warriors man checkpoints, hoist heavy weapons and act as enforcers.

    Beyond the additional fighting power, analysts and experts say brainwashing young recruits is a strategic move aimed at ensuring the militant group’s longevity by providing a ready-and-willing next generation of jihadis.

random thoughts from lorne

The grave of V.J. Strudwick at Essex Farm. The grave of V.J. Strudwick at Essex Farm.

When we visited the Commonwealth Military Cemetery at Essex Farm, near Ypres, Belgium, our guide pointed out the grave of V.J. Strudwick, who was killed in action January 14, 1916 at age 15. The official age to enlist was 18, for overseas service 19.

Recruiters though generally didn`t ask probing questions, and identification documents were not all that common in those days before drivers licences, when people may not have ever even seen a car. Joe Strudwick was in all probability adult sized and willing to enlist; he said he was 19 and they either believed him or looked the other way.

It was a young man’s war, as they generally all are. With age comes maturity; older men are more likely to question the validity of a war, more likely to have family responsibilities and less likely to unquestioningly volunteer for…

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On Veteran’s Day

One of the leading poets of the First World War, Siegfried Loraine Sassoon, CBE, MC (1886 – 1967) his poetry both described the horrors of the trenches, and satirised the patriotic pretensions of those who, in Sassoon’s view, were responsible for a jingoism-fuelled war.
We may wonder what his lone protest against the continuation of the war in his “Soldier’s Declaration” of 1917 has made politicians change their ideas. Problem with human souls is that their perverted exercise of power shall continue bloodshed all over the world.

Skull 1924 by Otto Dix.

Skull 1924 by Otto Dix. Photograph: The British Museum

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  • Doctor who treated Siegfried Sasson ‘pioneered’ anthropology (theguardian.com)
    William Rivers, the doctor who treated officers including Siegfried Sassoon for shell shock during the first world war, and who was memorably brought to life in Pat Barker’s Booker prize-winning Regeneration trilogy, was also one of the fathers of social anthropology, according to a new book which claims his work in the field was written out of history by subsequent academics.
  • Young poets speaking up for the Great War’s ‘forgotten’ (oxfordtimes.co.uk)
    3 young people from the Leys Community Development Initiative (CDI) will perform one-minute tributes to the forgotten citizens of the war.
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    “The contributions of some communities in the UK and across the globe are often overlooked and this project aims to shine a light on all those who paid a price to help secure the freedoms we hold so dear today.”
  • Tower of London Poppy Tribute (serenataflowers.com)
    A red sea of ceramic poppies has been placed at the Tower of London in order to celebrate the 100th year of the First World War. So far an incredible £11.2 million has been raised for charity.

    Aptly named the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the piece of art will eventually see a total of 888,246 poppies in the ground to represent each and every solider that died from the UK, Australia and the Commonwealth during World War One.

  • the soldier poets of the First World War (3quarksdaily.com)
    One of the worst experiences for soldiers in the trenches seems to have been the sense that landscape itself had been dissolved and unwritten by the continuous bombardment known as drum-fire, and replaced by what David Jones called “the unformed voids of that mysterious existence”. Place, ground to stand on and comprehend, took on especial importance in a war of attrition. The places from which the war poets came, and to which they looked back, were often as bloodstained as Otterburn – Wilfred Owen’s Romano–Welsh border, Jones’s half-legendary Welsh interior, Siegfried Sassoon’s Sussex where the Normans invaded, and Rupert Brooke’s more generalized England, dulled, as apparently it seemed to him, by the long post-Napoleonic respite from direct military threat.
  • History and all its grisly facts are worth more than the illusion of memory (tphnh.blogspot.com)
    Cameron is wrong. Poppies muffle the truth about world war one
    In 1924 the German artist Otto Dix depicted a skull, lying on the ground, a home to worms. They crawl out of its eye sockets, nasal opening and mouth, and wriggle among patches of hair and a black moustache or are they growths of grass? that still cling to the raw bone.
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    These experiences were real, this war was real, and it means absolutely nothing to reduce it all to vague feelings of universal grief. What we owe the youth of that generation is to attend to the details of the history that caught them in its hungry jaws. We need to smell the rotting earth and gunpowder, feel the boots falling apart in muddy water, the pounding in the chest as the guns started up. The installation at the Tower is abstract, and tells nothing about that history. It is instead a representation of grief as such – a second-hand evocation of feelings about the dead.
  • The lights of the living (macleans.ca)
    The spectres of Sassoon and Owen were certainly palpable earlier this month when, on Oct. 17, nearly 10,000 torchbearers stood for an hour in complete silence along Belgium’s Western Front as part of a ceremony called the Light Front. From the town of Nieuwpoort, along the bank of the Yser river, through the hills of Ypres and Heuvelland to Mesen and Ploegsteert, thousands of people from Europe and North America came out to remember the cataclysm of human loss that began and ended on this stretch of land a century earlier.
  • 27 British People Pay Tribute To Their Relatives Who Died During World War I (buzzfeed.com)
    Thousands of people are also remembering Britain’s soldiers – and their family members – online, through a variety of messages. Here are some of them:

Shelf Talk

This is the year we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. There is a beautiful and moving installation of poppies at the Tower of London, especially to honor the British and colonial deaths in that war.

Poppy panorama by Phil Guest via Flikr

But more generally let me say: there are not words enough to honor our veterans, nor praise great enough to mitigate their sacrifices. We grieve for those who were lost in war, we think of those who survive it, we hold those in the midst of war in our hearts today. For this day, a poem from the man who became the voice of World War I for many people, Siegfried Sassoon. Many of his poems are bleak and hard to read, but this one has always shaken me the most; that he went through war, a horrific war, and could still write something so hopeful, or at least…

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Reflections on the Great War #2

Today 11 November Remembrance day many grieve for those who were lost in war. It is a day we think of all the violence which still goes on in this world. Lots of men went through a horrific war, and when they came back in heir family they often were broken and could not find their way back in normal life. Many did not have any clue of what they had to endure. Today the madness still goes on at several places on this globe.

In this world there are people who want to divide and others who want to heal. All people should try to get others to see that it has no use to fight and that wars are the worst tragedy that can come over the world, war bringing many countries in agony, because of some man their love for power.

More people should come to understand that we can only improve the world by improving the Faith and that we should not put off for tomorrow what we can do today.

 

In the November issue of the Christadelphian is spoken about

  • 100 years ago
  • Studies in Matthew’s Gospel 11 – “That it might be fulfilled …” | John Benson
  • The ministry of reconciliation | Geoff Henstock
  • Archaeology in focus 11 – Horses & riders | James Andrews
  • Reflections on the Great War (2) | Les Shears
  • Bible Companion | John Hingley
  • Enhancing our worship Suggestions for November | John Botten
  • The purpose of the Ecclesia 09 – The Ecclesia as the flock part 2 | Peter Anderton & Paul Tovell
  • Electronic Hymn book
  •  “Until seventy times seven” | Stephen Whitehouse
  • Faith Alive! Seeing the invisible | Paul Dredge
  • Book Review Beginning at Jerusalem by John M. Hellawell | Stephen Whitehouse
  • Signs of the times Russia: strong enough to act? | Roger Long
  • Israel and their Land Parting the land | Roger Long
  • Epilogue  “Examine yourselves … test yourselves” | David Caudery
  • The brotherhood near and far

and can you find this 2° article on the Great War:

Reflections on the Great War

On August 4, 1914, the British government issued an ultimatum to Germany, demanding that their troops leave neutral Belgium. Germany had declared war on France the previous day and had begun the invasion of Belgium as a precursor to the planned encirclement of Paris. Following the rejection of the ultimatum, Britain declared war on Germany at 11 pm.

The war begins

The British, Belgian and American lines of att...

The British, Belgian and American lines of attack, during the Hundred Days Offensive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many greeted this action with enthusiasm, convinced that the war was a just cause and that it would soon be brought to a successful conclusion. However, as Brother John Botten pointed out in his introductory article (Reflections on the Great War #1 100 years on), while the Royal Navy was supposedly far superior to any other navy, the British army was far smaller than the vast armies of continental Europe and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) which set off for Belgium numbered only around 120,000. If the British were to make more than a token contribution to the land war then the established principle of a volunteer army might have to be overturned. This was even more apparent by the end of August, following the battles of Mons and Le Cateau where the BEF had sustained heavy casualties and, along with the French army, been forced into a long retreat by vastly superior German forces. On September 5 (by which time the Germans had reached the River Marne and were threatening Paris), newly appointed Secretary of War, Lord Kitchener, called for 100,000 volunteers and over the next week some 175,000 enlisted. News of German atrocities committed against Belgian civilians was eagerly seized on by a jingoistic press and helped in this process. Although the German army was forced back from the Marne, much fighting lay ahead in 1914 before the front line was stabilized – roughly along a line running north from Noyon past Arras and around Ypres to the Belgian coast, and east and south to the Swiss frontier. By the end of the year the British, French and Belgians had suffered a combined total of over 1,000,000 killed, wounded or missing, the vast majority of them French. The BEF’s ability to function had been severely compromised; more and more men would be required. There was still no suggestion of any immediate need for conscription, but public opinion was becoming increasingly ‘hawkish’.

22 August 1914: "A" Company of the 4...

22 August 1914: “A” Company of the 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, resting in the town square at Mons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Things had not gone well at sea either and elements of the German fleet had bombarded towns along the east coast, notably Hartlepool, Scarborough and Whitby, causing over 700 casualties. One victim of those bombardments was Brother Ripley of Whitby, whose house was practically destroyed by a shell, although he escaped injury.

Objection to military service

How did the brotherhood respond to the outbreak of war and its progress over the first six months? It would be good to be able to report that there was unanimity, but alas, that was not the case. Indeed, there was not even agreement as to whether we should petition government to register our conscientious objection to military service. There are lessons here for us all.

William Ewart Gladstone Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in office 15 August 1892 – 2 March 1894

William Ewart Gladstone Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in office 15 August 1892 – 2 March 1894

The cabinet had first discussed the necessity of conscription for all males aged 18-40 back in 1875, prompting Brother Robert Roberts to suggest that “a petition to Parliament might not be without advantage”. [1] No lesser figure than William Gladstone agreed to present the petition, only for disagreements within the brotherhood about the timing of the petition to surface and it was abandoned. In 1903, perhaps prompted by the South African War, a petition signed by about forty ecclesias was prepared but not presented. Almost immediately after the declaration of war in 1914 the issue again raised its head within the community. [2] On August 13, 1914, a meeting attended by almost 1,000 persons was held at the Temperance Hall in Birmingham. The following resolutions were passed with “practical unanimity”:

“‘That this meeting records its unshaken conviction that the commandments of Christ forbid the bearing of arms and bloodshedding.’

‘That in the present state of the nation it is not desirable to present a petition praying exemption from the bearing of arms.’

‘That we agree to the form of petition that has been presented and place it on record for possible use hereafter.’”

At the same time it was noted that there was some objection to clause 7, “for reasons which need not now be stated”. [3]

The reasons for delay in registering our position with the government are difficult to fathom. There was obviously a concern that any petition should not appear to be prompted merely by any current conflict, but there does appear to have been a degree of complacency when there was no immediate threat.

Facing a time of trial

If there seemed to be agreement about our objection to military service, there was considerable disagreement about what brothers and sisters could or should do in the event of war. The original wording of clause 7 was:

“That the conscientious objection of your petitioners does not extend to strictly non-combatant branches of National Service, but only to those which involve the bearing of arms or resort to force.”

Apparently, the author of this clause intended it to mean that brothers would have no objection to work of national value in a civil capacity not involving an oath of allegiance, but it is easy to see how the wording could be misconstrued and lead to future problems. The clause was omitted from the petition that was finally presented. Nonetheless, this remained a difficult area. An article entitled, “Our Plain Duty” appeared in the September edition of The Christadelphian. The author was clear that “we may neither bear arms nor use violence”, but he went on to write:

“In free civil life brethren may be found employed about munitions of war, for in this century nearly everything can be, and is, put to military use; therefore to work in a non-combatant capacity under conscription cannot rightly be called an outrage on our faith and practice. There are already some of us who, from good Samaritan motives, are now volunteering medical, and nursing, and other kindred service …”

It may well be that almost anything could be used in the war effort, but it is concerning to read of one meeting welcoming a brother whose work “at Vickers’ gun factory” had brought him to the area. [4] How could such employment be considered appropriate?

It is easy to sit back and criticise those who were volunteering for medical work, as service in the Royal Army Medical Corps did involve taking the oath of allegiance and working under military direction. However, we should try take into account the atmosphere in which this was taking place. The government had been quick to claim that we were fighting in a just cause and pressures came on every side – the press, public opinion and even employers. We can get an idea of the sort of pressures that existed by looking at an extract from an article entitled, “Our Attitude Towards War” published in The Fraternal Visitor in October 1914:

“If ever any war were justifiable, this is one, which, from our point of view, is just … But even so, we, as Brethren in Christ, can take no hand even in this war. Not that we wish others to fight our battles; we do not. Many of us younger brethren feel so convinced of the soundness of our cause that, apart from religious scruples, we desire to take up arms on behalf of our country and in defence of all that we hold dear.” [5]

Even with a clear understanding of our duty towards God, it is evident that this was indeed a most difficult situation and not all were able to resist the instinct alluded to in the article. Thus, Sheffield (Suffolk Street) Ecclesia reported that a brother and two senior members of Sunday School had joined the RAMC, [6] while others went further and enlisted for the duration in fighting units. There are reports of this happening at Newport, Northampton, Kidderminster and York. [7] At York the brother was withdrawn from and this led to three further withdrawals, but, it appears that he had a change of heart and was able to extricate himself from the army and all were eventually restored to fellowship. [8] In other instances there was an expression of sadness and a wish that in the not too distant future they could be welcomed home again. It is difficult to be certain of the fate of all who joined up, but it seems that at least one of those brothers did not survive the conflict. [9]

The weapons of our warfare

English: French soldiers waiting assault behin...

French soldiers waiting assault behind a ditch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was appropriate that the Editorial section of The Christadelphian in November 1914 commenced with a short piece entitled, “The Weapons of our Warfare”. It began by citing 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

 

“Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

It concluded, “If we have faith in Christ we shall eschew carnal weapons and confine ourselves to ‘the sword of the Spirit’ and ‘the whole armour of God.’ If we have not faith we may ‘take the sword and perish with the sword’, as Christ has said”. [10]

Les Shears

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[1] The Christadelphian, 1878, page 85.

[2] As Brother John pointed out in his article, Lincoln Ecclesia had already had correspondence with some MPs on the subject.

[3] The Christadelphian, 1914, page 422.

[4] The Christadelphian, 1915, pages 85,86.

[5] The Fraternal Visitor, 1914, page 286. The article itself runs from pages 285-289.

[6] The Fraternal Visitor, 1914, page 346.

[7] The Fraternal Visitor, 1914, page 376; The Christadelphian, 1914, pages 525,565,566.

[8] The Christadelphian, 1915, page 189.

[9] It appears that he died of wounds at a field hospital in Merville, France on July 9, 1917.

[10] The Christadelphian, 1914, page 505.

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Preceding article: Reflections on the Great War #1

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***
Do you not yet know the Christadelphians?

Come to get to know more about the Christadelphians.Do find an overview of what Christadelphian people think, live and want to follow up.

Read more about them in :

  1. Who are the Christadelphians
  2. What are Brothers in Christ
  3. Two new encyclopaedic articles
  4. Review of the Christadelphians from some older articles
  5. Loving the Word
  6. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  7. Servant of his Father
  8. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  9. Christadelphians or Messianic Christians or Messianic Jews

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Please find additional reading:

  1. All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting… George Orwell
  2. August 4, 1914 to be remembered
  3. 11 November, a day to remember #1 Until Industrialisation
  4. 11 November, a day to remember #2 From the Industrialisation
  5. 100° birthday of war and war tourism
  6. 1914 – 2014 preparations
  7. Liège 2014 remembering the Great War
  8. Mons 2014 remembering the Great War
  9. Friendship and Offer for the cause of democracy
  10. Juncker warns for possible new war
  11. Balfour Declaration of 1917 remembered
  12. Maker of most popular weapon asks for repentance
  13. Kingdom of God, a journey
  14. Which man is mentioned most often in the Bible? Jesus, Moses, Abraham or David?
  15. More Mexicans start questioning Catholic doctrine and the concept of the Trinity
  16. Improving the world by improving the Faith
  17. Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today
  18. The world Having to face a collective failure
  19. Anti-church movements and Humanism
  20. Are you religious, spiritual, or do you belong to a religion, having a faith or interfaith
  21. Do you believe in One god
  22. Looking for something or for the Truth and what it might be and self-awareness
  23. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  24. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  25. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  26. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  27. Tapping into God’s Strength by Waiting on Him
  28. Come ye yourselves apart … and rest awhile (Mark 6:31)
  29. Faith because of the questions
  30. A rebellious movement founded on a fake?
  31. Flowing out from a genuine spiritual “heart”
  32. Believing what Jesus says

 

 

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You may find on WordPress additional literature:

  1. 100 years on – we remember
  2. Armistice Day, 100 years after
  3. A Century On – Remember The Fallen
  4. A WW1 Centenary Image
  5. Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red…
  6. In Flander’s Fields…
  7. In Flanders’ Fields
  8. In Flanders Fields, by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1915)
  9. In Flanders Field, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
  10. Sable – The Green Fields of France
  11. 11-11-11
  12. Armistice Day
  13. Veterans / Remembrance Day 2014
  14. Spotlight on Remembrance Sunday
  15. Poppy Day vs Pocky Day?
  16. Poppy Day
  17. Poppy Day by Paul Hunter
  18. Poppy Day: 11/11
  19. The Poppy’s Bonfire.
  20. In Rememberance….Postcards from the Past
  21. Remembrance Day 1
  22. Remembrance Day 2
  23. Remembrance 3
  24. remembrance 4
  25. Rememberence day 5
  26. Remembrance day 6
  27. Remembrance Day 2014 1
  28. Remembrance Day 2014 2
  29. Remembering
  30. Remembrance Day (With a insight to my family and the Great Wars)
  31. Remembering my father on November 11
  32. Remembrance Hill
  33. November 11, Remembrance Day in Ypres (Belgium)
  34. 11.11.14 Lest we Forget
  35. Lest we forget 1
  36. Lest We Forget 2
  37. Lest We Forget 3
  38. Lest we forget: Harper’s war on Canadian rights and freedoms
  39. Lest we forget, message from the Minister of Veterans Affairs; City of Edmonton to hold Remembrance Day Services
  40. Lest We Forget – A Peace Remembered
  41. Europe remembers Armistice Day with ceremonies
  42. Peace
  43. A day of remembrance, a day of celebration too
  44. The price of freedom
  45. Freedom and the Importance of Remembrance
  46. Will we take responsiblity for our freedom and democracy?
  47. Poem for Armistice Day 11 11 2014
  48. This Tranquil Fields of Slumber
  49. The Parade
  50. Like the generations of leaves…
  51. Red Poppies
  52. One Of Many – Remembrance Day
  53. Remembrance Day Poppies at the Tower of London
  54. Remembrance Day: A Tribute To Our Brave Soldiers…
  55. Poppy ‘s up, November the 11th today, Montana Hotel for our Heros
  56. Poppy Day 2014
  57. Thoughts of poppies and absent friends
  58. The Remembrance Sunday Parade Setting Off, Bethlehem Street, Grimsby, 09/11/14.
  59. Remembering the Fallen on Veteran’s Day
  60. Hamilton honours fallen hometown soldier Nathan Cirillo
  61. Two Minutes
  62. Poppies
  63. Pixel Prose Challenge: Poppy Pride
  64. Remembrance Sunday: The Poppy Factory
  65. Remembrance Sunday poppies…
  66. Poppy, Poppies, and Others
  67. Please don’t remove the Tower poppies
  68. A Lily Warne poppy and other Dartmoor connections
  69. Prince Harry Rides Double Decker Bus for Poppy Day
  70. LaSalle honours and remembers veterans on Remembrance Day
  71. Video Southwold Memorial Service
  72. 100 Years Ago
  73. This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time
  74. Full Pundit: How Canada remembers
  75. Photos: Canada remembers
  76. In Photos: Winnipeg remembers
  77. Maple Leaf Journal – 11/11 Remembrance Day
  78. A Poppy for Armistice Day from a ‘Small’ Cat…
  79. November 11, 2014
  80. Twa Corbies for Poppy Day
  81. …remembrance day, patriotism for the profits of war…
  82. Happy Veterans/Remembrance Day everyone
  83. We will remember them – British Legion service
  84. Satire in the saddest of times
  85. Appreciation on Remembrance Day
  86. Watercolor: Remembrance Poppies
  87. My first post– about the Last Post
  88. To remember you have to know
  89. For the Fallen ~ Robert Laurence Binyon
  90. Remembrance Sunday
  91. Poppy politics
  92. World War I Memorial, Part Two
  93. Warriors Day
  94. The Tale of Two Poppies
  95. CyPix: Ames Ambulance Unit
  96. Wilfred Owen (1893-1918), stiched portrait, finished
  97. Veterans Day: An Origin Story
  98. The Teenage Soldiers of WWI
  99. Four Places to Discover World War I History
  100. Was fashion responsible for the outbreak of the First World War?
  101. What Soldiers Read
  102. Veterans Day And Remembrance Day Are Marked Across The Globe

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  • The Eight Birmingham brothers who served in World War One – and all came home (birminghammail.co.uk)
    Birmingham has a proud tradition of answering the call from King and Country in both World Wars. Huge sacrificeswere made. Justine Halifax tells the heart-warming – and heart-breaking tale of Corporal James Fair, his eight sons, grandsons, and great grandsons, who all served in the forces.“The last of the fighting Fairs is dead” – is how the passing of the eighth son of Birmingham’s Corporal James Fair was reported in the Birmingham Mail’s predecessor newspaper 60 years ago.
  • Armistice Day 2014: We remember them – 100 years on (dorsetecho.co.uk)
    The 1st Battalion would have a long andeventfulwar – all of it on the Western Front. From the start, they were present when the BEFfirstencountered the German Army at Mons and through the long and exhausting retreat that followed, via another clash at LeCateau.In the following year, they experienced one of the first poison gas attacks at Hill 60, on the Ypres Salient.They then suffered appalling casualties at Authuille Wood on July 1, 1916 – the notorious first day of the Battle of the Somme.
  • The Road to Ypres (oup.com)

    We have celebrated the fumbling British skirmishes at Mons and Le Cateau in late August, but largely forgotten the French triumph at the Battle of the Marne which first stemmed and threw back the German wheeling attack through Belgium into Northern France under the Schlieffen Plan. We have already bypassed the spirited Franco-British attempts at the Battle of the Aisne in September to take the Chemin des Dames. The Race to the Sea was under way: the British and German Armies desperately trying to turn their enemy’s northern flank.

    Throughout, the performance of the British Expeditionary Force has often been exaggerated. Imaginative accounts of Germans advancing in massed columns and being blown away by rapid rifle fire are common. A rather more realistic assessment is that the British infantry were steadfast enough in defence, but unable to function properly in coordination with their artillery or machine guns. The Germans seemed to have a far better grip of the manifold disciplines of modern warfare.

  • Still bearing the scars of war, the beautiful landscapes which were once the scene of some of World War One’s bloodiest fighting (dailymail.co.uk)
    The collection, called Fields of Battle-Lands of Peace 14-18, form an open-air exhibition featuring 60 freestanding photographs, each measuring 1.2 metres (4ft) by 1.8 metres (5ft 10in).
  • Liveblogging World War I: October 20, 1914 The First Battle of Ypres (delong.typepad.com)

    Strategically located along the roads leading to the Channel ports in Belgian Flanders, the Belgian city of Ypres had been the scene of numerous battles since the sixteenth century.  With the German failure at the Battle of the Marne in September 1914 and the subsequent Allied counter attacks, the ‘Race to the Sea’ began.

    This so called race ended at the North Sea coast after each army attempted to outflank the other by moving north and west.  This area of Flanders, described by one historian as having the dreariest landscape in Western Europe, contained the last gap through which either side could launch a decisive thrust.

    By October 1914, the Allies had reached Nieuport on the North Sea coast.  The Germans, as a prelude to General Erich von Falkenhayn’s Flanders Offensive, captured Antwerp and forced its Belgian defenders back to Nieuport, near Ypres.

  • World War One Cardiff council fallen remembered on roll of honour (walesonline.co.uk)
    Those who worked for Cardiff City Council and lost their lives in World War One were remembered in the council’s roll of honour. Jessica Flynn looks at the formal roll held at Glamorgan Archives
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    With hundreds of names on the list, each have their own personal story. Many were normal working class people going about their lives in the city before the war changed their futures.
  • The History of Remembrance Poppies (serenataflowers.com)
    Published in 1915, the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae uses thisimage as a symbol of the way that the poet’s comrades fought and gave their lives in battle.Its hugely powerful sentiment inspired two women who went onto be responsible for our wearing of the poppy today.In the USA after having read the poem, Moina Bell Michael started to sell poppies to raise funds for ex- servicemen. Later in 1921 the idea was taken up by Madam Guerin who sold countless poppies to raise money to regenerate areas of France that had been most severely destroyed during World War One.

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, History, Political affairs, Religious affairs, World affairs

Reflections on the Great War #1 100 years on

Today 11 November it is remembrance day for the worst tragedy that came over the world, war bringing many countries in agony.

In the 2014 August and November issues of the Christadelphian is spent some time to think about those awful years.
In the august issue brother Roger Long looked also at the “Signs of the times” Nearer the exit?

Today in several countries there is an annual holiday honouring military veterans. At Veterans Day, also celebrated as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day or Poppy Day, the world remembers the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.  At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare, with the German signing of the Armistice. It is marked by parades and church services and in many places the flags of the country and of the union (Europe, Common Wealth, America or United States) are hung at half mast. A period of silence lasting one or two minutes may be held at 11am.

The British do have Remembrance Sunday on the second Sunday in November, the Sunday nearest to 11 November. Remembrance Sunday also sees special events and services relating to remembrance and was this year (2014) on the 9th of November.

The Christadelphian August 2014 issue with Reflections and Lessons from the Great War 1914-1918

The Christadelphian August 2014 issue with Reflections and Lessons from the Great War 1914-1918

 

100 years on

Reflections on the Great War

The First World War was one of the most important events of the twentieth century, shattering the international settlement of the previous century and leading almost inevitably to the Second World War.

The War brought serious challenges to the Christadelphian community, challenges reflected in the pages of The Christadelphian and Fraternal Visitor magazines. In this brief series, these will be considered from time to time.

“A bolt from the blue”

“The murder of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his Consort on June 28th, at Sarajevo, has proved to be the match the dropping of which has converted Europe into a ‘lake of fire’. It has come like a bolt from the blue …” (“Signs of the Times” – September 1914, The Christadelphian, page 451)

Franz Joseph I of Austria 1855

Franz Joseph I of Austria 1855 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the first news was received of the murder by Gavrilo Princip of Franz Ferdinand and his wife, it was not front page news. The Times newspaper reported it on page 7 very much as just another assassination in a Europe accustomed to periodic murders of kings and politicians. After all Tsar Alexander II of Russia had been killed by a bomb thrown by a Polish student in March 1881; the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph’s wife, Elizabeth, had been stabbed to death boarding a lakeside steamer in Geneva by an anarchist in 1898 and the Russian Prime Minister Stolypin assassinated in a Kiev theatre in 1911, to name but a few. The main comment in the newspapers was about the extraordinary ill fortune of the House of Hapsburg: Franz Joseph’s brother Maximilian had died in an ill-fated attempt to become emperor of Mexico in 1867, his son Rudolf committed suicide at Mayerling in 1889, his wife had been murdered and now his nephew and heir and his wife had been shot dead in Sarajevo in yet another episode in the troubled history of the Balkans.

It is doubtful if many of the British public had ever heard of Sarajevo before and many people, including politicians, saw it as an unfortunate episode which might raise temperatures in a troubled area which had experienced two wars within the previous three years. However, those wars had been prevented from spreading by the intervention of the great powers, Austria-Hungary, Germany, Britain, France and Russia, and expectations in the initial days after the murders were that this new mini-crisis could also be resolved. No one in those first days and weeks thought that it would lead to a world war. Other crises involving the Powers had come and gone without leading to conflagration, so why should this one be any different?

Militarism and alliances

Of course, the Powers were all armed to the teeth and had been for some years; in January 1914 The Christadelphian noted the huge rise in the number of Dreadnought battleships across the Powers – up from 1 in 1905 to 125 in 1912 and 150 in 1913. The “Signs of the Times” column noted the “steady drift towards Armageddon” and that the nations were “angrier than ever”. But it also noted the general concern that money devoted to growing armies and navies was being wasted at a time of great social need. In those early months of 1914 there was no great sense of urgency, even amongst eagle-eyed surveyors of the world stage in the Christadelphian Office. Indeed an interesting observation from the Daily Chronicle quoted in February 1914’s magazine was that, “Never has Europe been more militarist or less warlike”. This comment reflected the widespread feeling that the very level of military preparedness made war less likely. The two great alliances, of Austria-Hungary and Germany on one hand and Britain, France and Russia on the other, seemed to cancel one another out and peace of a sort had prevailed ever since 1871 – a period of just over forty years. Whilst there were signs of troubled times ahead, in the spring of 1914 there was little awareness of the imminence of the disaster about to unfold or the millions of lives it would consume. People had become lulled into a false sense of security.

Watching world events

The Christadelphian magazines of those early months have a recognisable mixture of exposition, exhortation and other articles of general interest. There was much concern for the fledgling Jewish settlements in Palestine, then still under Turkish rule; Brother Frank Jannaway sent regular reports of his travels there and in neighbouring Bible lands. There was great concern for Jews being persistently mistreated in Russia, comments on events and matters of interest in other churches and the regular reports of ecclesial activities. Until September, after the war had started, the lecture titles recorded were a cross-section of issues, with few if any indicating an imminent world crisis.

So there is an interesting mix of news. In February 1914 aeroplanes were seen over Jerusalem for the first time; in March it was reported that the European Unity League was advocating an alliance of the states of Europe on an economic basis and that suggestions had been made that Jerusalem should be declared a neutral city. In April there was a report of some Suffragettes setting up their own women-only church; in May the visit of the King and Queen to Paris to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Entente Cordiale alliance with France; in June an article bewailed the failure of clergymen in the established Church to uphold the authority of the scriptures, especially with regard to miracles.

The magazine reports were not entirely ignorant of the threats posed by the Powers’ large armies and navies. In April the “Signs of the Times” reported that there were rumours that some of the Powers might consider that a “preventative” war would be better than allowing their enemies to grow stronger and stronger; it also listed the huge armies of the time – Russia 1,700,000 men, Germany 870,000, France 714,000, Austria 360,000 and Italy 290,000. Relying on its navy, Britain mustered a mere 256,000. In June a letter raised the question of whether it would be wise to send a fresh petition to the British Parliament again to request exemption if conscription was introduced: the rather cautious response was that the time was not right for such an action, although the Lincoln Ecclesia had petitioned on the subject in 1913 and received responses from senior politicians including Asquith, Lloyd George and Winston Churchill.

The July “Signs of the Times”, probably written before the news of the assassination in Sarajevo broke, covered a diverse range of events – the crisis in Ireland over Home Rule; the Suffragette campaign which included planting a bomb behind the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey; oil exploration in Southern Persia; a suggestion from an Admiral Scott that air power and submarines would eventually make warships obsolete; references to a revolution in Albania and to collisions at sea. Even in August, the assassination only made an appearance as the third item in “Signs of the Times”, although the publication of the magazine at the beginning of the month and early requirements for copy may account for this.

The crisis everyone in Britain feared concerned Ireland, which was then entirely within the United Kingdom. A Home Rule Bill passed through the House of Commons in June 1914, but the Protestant northern counties of Ulster had been preparing for some years to resist if any attempt were made to force them into a united independent Ireland. Ulster Defence Volunteers openly marched and prepared to fight, with large numbers of guns being smuggled into the country. British Army officers stationed at the Curragh threatened to resign rather than be ordered to take action against the Protestant counties. Had the war not intervened, a civil war in Ireland would almost certainly have broken out.

The low priority given to the assassination in Sarajevo reflected the initial lack of alarm amongst the leaders of the Great Powers. The German Foreign Minister went off on July 5th on his honeymoon; the Kaiser set out the next day for his usual twenty-day summer cruise to Scandinavia; other leaders looked forward to time on holiday away from the troubles of the world. The British public planned whatever time they could get at the seaside or other holiday destinations, looking forward to August Bank Holiday, then on the first Monday in August.

A rapid escalation

All things continued much as before until July 24, when Austria-Hungary’s fierce ultimatum to Serbia, who it blamed for the assassination, set in train a rapid escalation. The Austrians had first secured the support of the Germans for this move, which made the involvement of Russia and France more likely. Within a week the mobilisation of the rival armies of Europe, unable to stand and watch their allies attacked or threatened, had brought Austria-Hungary and Germany into war with Russia and France. The invasion of Belgium as part of the German plan to defeat France quickly brought Britain into the war on August 4 and the last summer of the old order was overwhelmed by the earthquake which was the Great War.

There are lessons in all this for us. We too live in days when we have become accustomed to living with crises in different parts of the world. They form a constant backdrop to our lives. Scarcely a day goes by without a fresh report of trouble in the Middle East, whilst the Great Powers of our day posture and threaten much as they did a hundred years ago. So it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security and to push beyond the horizon our expectation of the Second Coming and the final crises of this world which will precede it. The Lord warned us that his return would come suddenly “as a thief in the night”. In 1914, the world which then was disintegrated in the space of little more than a month from the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, serving as a warning of how quickly things change in God’s purpose. The lesson is clear and uncompromising:

“Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming … therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect … Lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.” (Matthew 24:42,44; Mark 13:36)

John Botten

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Continue reading: Reflections on the Great War #2

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Come to get to know more about the Christadelphians.Do find an overview of what Christadelphian people think, live and want to follow up.

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Please find additional reading:

  1. All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting… George Orwell
  2. August 4, 1914 to be remembered
  3. 11 November, a day to remember #1 Until Industrialisation
  4. 11 November, a day to remember #2 From the Industrialisation
  5. 100° birthday of war and war tourism
  6. 1914 – 2014 preparations
  7. Liège 2014 remembering the Great War
  8. Mons 2014 remembering the Great War
  9. Friendship and Offer for the cause of democracy
  10. Juncker warns for possible new war

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  • Remembrance Day: Millions across the UK including London and Belfast to mark those lost (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
    This weekend – Armistice weekend in the 1914 centenary year – London will have three rivers: water, people and poppies.
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    For the first time on any war memorial anywhere in the world, the names of former comrades, former allies and former enemies will be listed together, alphabetically, with no distinction of rank or country. President François Hollande will open the memorial. Both the Prime Minister David Cameron and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, were invited. Neither, sadly, will attend.
  • The History of Remembrance Poppies (serenataflowers.com)
    At this time of year it’s hard to miss those unmistakable red poppies adorning everyone’s lapels and buttonholes. Having become such an iconic symbol of the sacrifices made and the lives lost in past wars how did this simple little flower come to mean so much to so many?
  • World War One: Use our widget to search for anyone in your family or your street who died in The Great War (manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
    The last recorded death in the conflict from Greater Manchester was James Isherwood Bolton, of Belmont Road, Astley Bridge.He sadly lost his life on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.James Arthur Parkes, of Meadow Bank, Chorlton, was the oldest casualty when he was killed on March 29, 1917, aged 67.

    And the youngest to die was 15-year-old Frederick Thorley Finucane, the son of Theatre and Emily Finucane, when he died on November 27 1914.

    The bloodiest day was on July 1, 1916, when 585 soldiers from Greater Manchester died in the Battle of the Somme.

  • Opinion: Echoes of Great War reverberate to this day (ww1.canada.com)
    If you had been in one of those cold, wet trenches on the Western Front, bracing yourself to go “over the top” into the face of machine-gun fire, how would you want future generations to honour your potential death?Well, having spent a lot of time between attacks listening to cries for help from No Man’s Land, you’d probably not be satisfied with occasional remembrances of your sacrifice.Rather, you’d want future generations to figure out what happened, with a view to making sure the Armageddon you were living through at least became the War To Make Wars a Lot Less Likely. And today – just three days shy of the 100th anniversary of Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia, starting the First World War – it’s fair to say this is a debt posterity hasn’t properly paid.
  • Arrivals: This week, Remembrance Day (thestar.com)
    Military expert Doyle has assembled 100 objects to tell the story of the Great War, beginning with the 1911 Graff and Stift Double Phaeton open car in which Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, were travelling when they were assassinated, and ending with the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, and other memorials that remember the war dead.
  • Today in History, Oct. 28 (rep-am.com)
    On Oct. 28, 1914, Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip, whose assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, sparked World War I, was sentenced in Sarajevo to 20 years’ imprisonment (he died in 1918); four conspirators were sentenced to death. (Princip escaped the death penalty because he was underage.)
  • Time Machine: Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria (1875-1914) (rosiepowell2000.typepad.com)
    The assassinations produced widespread shock across Europe. There was a great deal of initial sympathy toward Austria. Within two days, Austria-Hungary and its ally, Germany, advised Serbia that it should open an investigation on the assassination, but the Serbian government responded that the incident did not concern them. After conducting its own criminal investigation, Austro-Hungary issued what became known as the July Ultimatum, which listed demands made to Serbia regarding the assassinations within 48 hours. After receiving support from Russia, Serbia agreed to at least two out of ten demands. The government mobilized its troops and transported them by tramp steamers across the Danube River to the Austro-Hungarian at Temes-Kubin. Austro-Hungarian soldiers fired into the air to warn them off. On July 28, 1914; Austria-Hungary and its ally, Germany, declared war on Serbia. Under the Secret Treaty of 1892, Russia and France were obliged to mobilize their armies if any of the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austo-Hungary and Italy) mobilized. Russia’s mobilization completed full Austro-Hungarian and German mobilizations. Soon all the Great Powers, except Italy, had chosen sides. World War I had begun.
  • Speech: Remembrance Day (gov.uk)
    Ladies and gentlemen, we come here, of course, to pay our respects to all of the fallen and of the wounded in all conflicts over the last 100 years. 2014 also marked the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of WW2 and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, commemorated by World Leaders, including HM the Queen, in Normandy this summer. This spirit of courage, bravery and sacrifice continues to the present day. As we welcome home our returning troops from Afghanistan, we grieve for the 453 of them who were lost to that conflict. We also pay tribute to the Cambodian troops currently serving overseas in UN Peacekeeping operations in countries as far afield as Mali and Lebanon. We wish them success in their missions and a safe return home upon their completion.Today, as every day, we remember those who volunteered, served, fought, and died, all for the cause of freedom. We have with us today several veterans of these conflicts. We are grateful for your service. We thank you, and we salute you as we salute those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We will remember them.

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