I paused this evening on the communal balcony to watch the fireworks displays across our local area. From the fifth floor we have a beautiful panoramic view from both sides of the flat.
As I watched them, I was reminded of one of Dad's anecdotes from his time in Iraq, how at some of the darkest moments in the first Gulf war, the sky of Bagdad, lit by orange flares and the flames of burning buildings, had resembled the beauty of bonfire night at home.
From the improntu firework display, to his keeping up with the housework, dusting the inside of his armoured vehicle with a paintbrush to keep the sand of the desert at bay, even in the thick of fighting, soldiers will look for the familar, the domestic. Many adopt wandering animals as pets, share the sweets from their rations with children not so very different from their own at home, and play football with them in the street. Daddy was no different.
Men and women have sacrificed their lives up and down the ages, so that we might enjoy these small pleasures of life, as well as the larger causes of freedom and justice.
So please, enjoy bonfire night with it's excitement and colour, and give thanks to God for those who gave much for you to be free to enjoy the everday delights of this world and the next.
"Two voices behind the line in France, May 1916"
'The roads are all torn';
'but the sun's in the sky,'
'The houses are waste';
'but the day is all fair,'
'There's death in the air';
'and the larks are on high,'
'Though we die-';
'it is spring-time, what do we care?'
'The gardens are rank';
'but the grass is still green,'
'The orchards are shot-torn';
'there's bloom on the trees,'
'There's's war all around';
'yet is nature serene,'
'we'll bear it, fanned by the breeze.'
'Some are wounded';
'they rest, and their glory is known,'
'Some are killed';
'there's's peace for them under the sod,'
'Men's homes are in peril';
'their souls are their own,'
'The bullets are near us';
'not nearer than God.'
David Westcott Brown
(killed July 15, 1916)