A View From The Vicarage - October 2018

Dear Friends

We Shall Remember


I wonder if you, like me, watched “The Last Night Of The Proms” this year.  Each and every year “The Last Night” manages to ignite a number of emotions for me;  the first being that yet another year has passed in which my involvement with this incredible musical festival has been cursory to say the least.  Each and every year I promise myself that some time I will actually go to a Prom concert next year.  However, as in so many other things “there’s always next year,”  although, of course, one year there won’t be!


For me, one of the most moving sections of this year’s transmission was a visit to The Proms in The Park events across Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales;  this latter in the place where my Grandparents lived.  The uniting factor between all three visits was the rendition of three popular songs from the First World War.  This was, of course, a tribute to the fact that November 11th which is, of course, also Remembrance Sunday this year marks the centenary of the Armistice which brought the unspeakable horrors of the First World War to their conclusion. 


We are, of course, along with so many others marking that centenary throughout the Kington Parishes.    Kington Church will be hosting a Poppy Festival from 28th October until 11th November and all of our churches will be holding a Service of Remembrance on Remembrance Sunday.


It strikes me that Remembrance is an important moment within the narrative of our nation.  Not the Nationalistic jingoism one witnesses at moments such as The Last Night Of The Proms but a moment of quiet, sober reflection on the sacrifice made by so many to guarantee the freedoms and liberties which we, perhaps take for granted.    Despite legislation in the 17 years since that appalling attack on New York and Washington in 2001 and with it the modern plague of industrial terrorism, this remains a free and tolerant society.  Those very freedoms and liberties which we enjoy were not won cheaply, neither should they be surrendered cheaply either.


On November 11th, this year as every year, our focus and the names we will recall will be, of those, who gave their lives in the cause of freedom, but as we approach this significant anniversary let us always remember those who although equally valiant did not have to make the ultimate sacrifice.  The equally courageous young men and women who also fought and still do, but who, thank God, returned home perhaps injured physically in some cases horrendously but certainly injured mentally, whose lives were changed by what they had done, seen and witnessed.  Some of them my own Grandfather for instance are our direct forbears.  As we pledge to remember the fallen, let’s not allow ourselves to forget the others, for their courage and fortitude was no less gallant and the scars physical and mental which war inflicts will have been and for some still are more permanent.    


To misquote Binyon’s lines:    “they shall grow old, as we grow old,

age shall weary them and the years condemn.

            At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

we shall remember them too”. 


With my love and prayers as always


Ben Griffith