The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month

Posted by Tory Historian Sunday, November 11, 2007

It has been suggested once to Tory Historian that, perhaps, another time and day should now be chosen for Remembrance as this time and day are too closely connected with the First World War. Naturally, Tory Historian disagreed. If there is no need to change there is every need not to change and the words "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" have come to mean much more than just the ending of that terrible conflict.

Having listened to the prayers led by the Bishop of London and the other parts of the ceremony by the Cenotaph Tory Historian remains certain that this is the time we must dedicate to remembering the sacrifices made and being made by so many on our behalf.

As ever, there are excerpts from two poems to be quoted. The first is by the Canadian medical officer John McCrae, who wrote the poem in 1915 and died of pneumonia towards the end of the war. It is odd to recall that more people of influenza in 1918 throughout the world than were killed in the Great War, terrible though the casualties were.

In fact, the Second World War was the first war in history in which direct casualties were higher than those of attendant and subsequent illness. Whether that is a reflection on medical or military developments remains to be an open question.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard beneath the guns below.
For personal reasons Tory Historian finds Lawrence Binyon's lines particularly moving:
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
We should never forget them but this is the time we really remember.


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