I can’t quite believe that it was a year ago that we all experienced those dramatic, beautiful and thought provoking images of the ceramic poppies outside the Tower of London. They cascaded down out of an office window and then spread like a flowing river across the moat around the tower. We took the girls up to see them and as we queued, I noted that for the number of people, there was an atmosphere of reserved dignity as the beauty of the image was interjected with the stark realisation that each poppy represented a young life that had been lost in the First World War.
I often pause and read the list of names of the fallen on Phil Mann’s display to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War in the window of the Lady Chapel. Today as I type these few words at my desk, I have three orders of service of funerals I attended next to my laptop. They are for Tony Hiscock, Theo Ball and Jean Winter respectively; all dearly missed members of our congregation who have died in the past year. All of them connected by their service during the Second World War within the armed services.
It made me think that I not only wear my poppy to remember those that died and continue to die in war, but also to remember those that survived and then wore or continue to wear visible and invisible scars of their military service. To remember them and continue to tell their story so that its echoes can stop us from making the same mistakes as before and to remind us to continue to help those struggling with the impact of conflicts that still occur too frequently across the world. The Poppy, a symbol, yes, to remember sadness, but also to remember there is hope.