River Wissey Lovell Fuller


December 2001

Commitment and opportunity

I'm writing this a few days after Remembrance Day, with the high emotions of that event still uppermost in my mind. I recently came across a poem, first published in the Army Sapper magazine, which seemed to sum up the events of that day in words far better than any I can compose.

Why do you still march Old manWith medals on your chest?Why do you still grieve Old ManFor those you laid to rest?Why do your eyes gleam Old ManWhen you hear those bugles blow?Tell me why you cry Old ManAbout those days so long ago?

I'll tell you why I marchWith medals on my chest.I'll tell you why I grieve Young Man,For those I laid to rest.Through misty fields of gossamer silkCome visions of distant times.When boys of tender age,Lost lives, and mothers pined.

We buried them in a blanket shroudTheir young flesh scorched and blackenedA communal grave, newly gouged,In bloodstained gorse and bracken.

And you ask me why I march Young man?I march to remind you allBut for those apple blossomed youthsYou'd never have known freedom at all.

It was a tremendous experience made more poignant by the total commitment of so many thousands of spectators. They refused to allow even the smallest group to pass without tremendous applause, which gave a lift to us all.

However, by the time you read this, you will be less than four weeks away from Christmas. Another year over and another phase of our lives completed. Are you happy with what you did last year? Do you want to do more next year? There are many opportunities both within the Pump and other publications, which will allow you to take up new initiatives next year. Why not give them a try?

A merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all!

Ray Thompson

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