In nearly every corner of the land there are memorials to those who died in the two great wars of the 20th century.
There are also many memorials in other nations which remind us of the scale of these wars and that for many of the war dead “there’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England” (Rupert Brooke).
The medals proudly worn by the veterans and the current members of the armed services give an international dimension to our thoughts on Remembrance Sunday.
These awards for service, duty and bravery challenge the disingenuous attitude that countries beyond our shores are not an integral part of our national story.
We have always been citizens of the world since time immemorial.
The battles for peace, injustice, oppression and freedom are far from over as we are constantly reminded by the presence of terrorists in our streets and our troops carrying out their tasks in war zones in many parts of the world.
The guns have not fallen silent because there are still too many children weeping and suffering and too many homes wrecked by evil hearts and warped minds.
Remembrance Sunday also reminds us that the task of peace is never ending because we must always defend one another’s wellbeing in today’s world.
Not all of us wear medals but we all can wear the red poppy, the universal symbol of the sacrifice to self-interest.
The poppy has at its centre the black iris of the eye to give us insight to the human condition and the green leaf for growing understanding of how we can strive to build a better world in this and in every generation. Is this not one way of understanding what we mean by the British dream?
Does this dream coincide with the divine dream “that nation shall not lift up sword against nation” (Isaiah 2 verse 4).
Remembrance Sunday can help us find the answer.
Canon George Burgon