blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Friday, November 27, 2009

War and Peace

Earlier this month, like Prince Charles and his wife and in a bigger than ever crowd of Canadians, I stood on Parliament Hill near the war memorial on the morning of Armistice Day (or Remembrance Day, as it's called here). I took some photos of the parade and wanted to record in my blog that the twenty-one gun salute, which sent plumes of smoke wafting over the parliament buildings, frightened the little children in the crowd so much that they nearly all cried, and periodically drowned out the voices of the older children singing in the choir. I thought this altogether symbolic of how war deafens and damages us. Four fighter jets zoomed overhead in an ear-splitting fly past as well, so that we lost track of the poem being read.



This is what the children were singing:

I vow to thee, my country
All earthly things above
Entire and whole and perfect,
The service of my love;
The love that asks no question,
The love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar
The dearest and the best;
The love that never falters,
The love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted
The final sacrifice.

And there's another country,
I've heard of long ago
Most dear to them that love her,
Most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies,
We may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart,
Her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently
Her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness,
And all her paths are peace.

4 comments:

melandfaith said...

Oh dear, oh dear. Why are we still teaching children to believe that it is sweet and right to die for the fatherland? Even the offered reward is described using military metaphors.

Alison Hobbs said...

The poem was written in 1908.

melandfaith said...

... yes, it smells of Empire.

Emma said...

I'm not so against the idea of being willing to die for a cause. It's the being willing to KILL for a cause that I have a problem with...