Tuesday, September 27, 2011

At Sunset ‘We will remember them.’

Here’s a photo taken by me last Saturday evening. By appearance, the sunset was nothing out of the ordinary; nevertheless it was beautiful. I felt an atmosphere of calm and peace as the sun gradually sank beyond the horizon. I was alone at my favourite place beside the River Crouch. All of this splendour was there solely for my enjoyment.

For me, sunsets are always special. When I was a nipper, I used to take a walk to the brow of hill on a fine summer’s evening. From there I could watch the changing hues; blues to purples, golden crimson and streaks of orange; finally an oval, white-hot shimmering blob would slip beyond the dark rim of the encroaching night.

One evening I did not understand what was happening. The sky was a fiery, scarlet glow of spattered blood. There was a droning, moaning from overhead. Hundreds of black Dakotas towing gliders, their wings outstretched like birds of prey, steadily moved in formation. When they had passed, there was an eerie silence. Brave men were on their way to give their lives for the cause of freedom and their kin; for helpless babes, children, men and women, for justice, truth and all mankind.

This I now know. I shall never forget their sacrifice. I shall never pay the debt I owe. For them it was their death and the gift of life; a life that I treasure, a life so full and free. No other man could have lived like me, for by God’s grace He has set me free.

Shortly after the retreat from Mons and the battle of Marne during the Great War, Robert Laurence Binyon wrote his poignant poem, ‘For the Fallen’. One verse sums up my gratitude to those who fell.

'They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.'

These moving words are said on November 11th every year at ceremonies commemorating the brave and the selfless who fell during the First and Second World Wars, and in more recent times, at the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sadly, we never learn. We encourage evil and reject the only remedy. (John 15:12-17)


Laurence Binyon


Remembrance Day


Remembrance Day


Dakotas towing Gliders – archive film


38 Group – List of Men Killed in Glider Assaults


A Photo of Dakotas towing Gliders


Battle of Mons


First Battle of Marne



Paul Mullings said...

Very nice sentiments Bill. Just to let you know that verse from Laurence Binyon's poem is recited every night as the Ode Of Rememberance at 6pm in New Zealand RSA's (Returned Service Association) As luck would have it I am just off to my local RSA now to share a beer or two with some mates and to hear it recited as it is every time I visit.

William Serjeant said...


I'm ashamed to say I was totally ignorant of the New Zealand RSA. Thank you for drawing my attention to the organisation.

My days doing National Service were not my happiest. I was forced to engage in activities I would rather not have done, like manning the OP for Artillery 24 pounders and learning how to kill people with rifles, sten guns and hand ganades.