There is no point my repeating my beliefs and views about the wearing of poppies and how we should remember all who died in all conflicts everywhere on Remembrance day. I have written pieces over the past two years which can be read here and here and I still remain in the same mind! I have bought white poppies from the Peace Pldege Union for the family and donated to the British Legion and feel fine about it all.
Remembrance Day inevitably becomes for me - as for so many people I suspect - also a day for remembering others too who have passed from this life, as well as those who have been victims of military conflicts.
This time of year is a time of remembering - Hallowe'en is 'properly' " All Hallows' Eve' ", the night before the Christian festival celebrations of All Saints' Day on the 1st November and All Souls' Day on the 2nd November - both of which celebrate the souls of faithful departed. The ancient festival of Samhain falls around this time too and celebrates a different sort of departure, that of the lighter part of the year. The spirits of the departed were welcomed to the feasting that took place at this time. Somehow from these festivals we have the stories/customs of ghosts abroad on Hallowe'en!
Remember, remember the 5th of November as the old rhyme goes has always seemed a rather horrible time to me, with the ritualistic burning of am image of real person who was killed in a horrific way. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good party and if a bonfire and some hot dogs and toffee apples are included - bring it on! - but I would rather not throw any effigies onto the flames.
Christmas Eve was always a time of remembrance for those who has passed, symbolised by a burning candle in the window of one's dwelling. Dicken's used this in A Christmas Carol when in describes the Ghost of Christmas Past as having:
...from the crown of its head there sprung a bright clear jet of light, by which all this was visible; and which was doubtless the occasion of its using, in its duller moments, a great extinguisher for a cap, which it now held under its arm.Clearly a candle, which at the end of its journey with Ebenezer Scrooge into the past and the visits to so many long departed souls, Scrooge cannot bear any further revelations and
In the struggle, if that can be called a struggle in which the Ghost with no visible resistance on its own part was undisturbed by any effort of its adversary, Scrooge observed that its light was burning high and bright; and dimly connecting that with its influence over him, he seized the extinguisher-cap, and by a sudden action pressed it down upon its head. The Spirit dropped beneath it, so that the extinguisher covered its whole form; but though Scrooge pressed it down with all his force, he could not hide the light, which streamed from under it, in an unbroken flood upon the ground.Scrooge snuffs it out.
Don't let us 'snuff out' our remembrances. Tomorrow and everyday are good days to remember all those that have gone before us. Hopefully with happy memories and joy, even if they went before we were ready to let them go. And with that thought let us all hope that those who went due to military conflicts may serve to remind us that in those conflicts there is to much waste of human life and the real answer lies in Pacifism.
The poster above and other information, books etc can be bought from the Peace Pledge Union, details here