Monday, November 10, 2008

70 years on

Yesterday, as I made my way through the various Remembrance Sunday observances of these parishes, there were many references to the fact that this is the 90th anniversary of the end of World War 1...I heard heart-breaking statistics, including the number of soldiers killed on 11th November, in the hours leading up to that eleventh hour when the guns were finally stilled.
As a friend on the PRCL list wrote in her Remembrance Sunday sermon

Despite the fact that it was widely known that the fighting would end then,
something like 11,000 soldiers were killed on that day, more than the total
killed in the D-Day landings. Some of those deaths may have been inevitable,
even justifiable, but sadly there were cases where it seems there was no
better reason for them than that a commanding officer wanted to have one
last stab at glory, to be able to say he had won some town or village, which
he could have walked into a few hours later

On one level, Remembrance Sunday is all about needless deaths. At our two services, particularly the one held at Church in the Valley yesterday afternoon, the ATC and the Sea Cadets in their uniforms were a searing reminder of the youth of those we were remembering. So they paraded, brought their colours up to the altar, read lists of names and kept silence...and I wondered, as I always do, whether any of the stark reality of war is made real in these ceremonies.

Then I came home, and discovered that (lost amid the official rememberings of the day) this is also the 70th anniversary of Krystallnacht
That this should be all but ignored disturbs me if one set of deaths was somehow of more importance than another...
Krystallnacht set the tone for what was to come...for the enormities of the holocaust. And it was only by chance that I discovered this anniversary.

There are no words adequate, so I'm posting the Kaddish, the mourning prayer of Judaism. Really, it seems the only thing to do...

May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified
in the world that He created as He willed. May He make His kingship reign
in your lifetimes and in your days, and in the lifetimes of all the Jewish people,
swiftly and soon. Now respond: Amen.
May His great Name be blessed forever and ever.
Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled,
mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, Blessed is He.
beyond any blessing and song,
praise and consolation that are uttered in the world. Now respond: Amen.
May there be great peace from Heaven,
and life upon us and upon all Israel. Now respond: Amen.
He Who makes peace in His Heavens, may He make peace
upon us and upon all Israel. Now respond: Amen.


ROBERTA said...

Thank you Kathyrn, that was a very powerful piece.

Crimson Rambler said...

Thank you indeed, Kathryn. Have you read "Birdsong"? (Sebastian Faulks). I am reading the pages, v. near the end of the novel, about 11/11/18 for (in lieu of) sermon tomorrow.

Mary Beth said...

I linked to this from my place. THank you. mbb

Caroline said...

oh yes indeed. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Glad that you made sure we do NOT overlook it :)

may it never ever happen again

Rainbow dreams said...

I didn't click your way to read this then, but have now - Rob was only telling me yesterday about their assembly on this, which also fits with our son's lessons about the holocaust. It's beyond words, thank you for blogging it, Katie