Script - Thursday 8th May - Andrea Rea
Today’s date, the 8th of May has special significance because of its association with the end of World War II. “VE Day”, as it is known, is important all over Europe, and has been since May 8th 1945 – the very first VE Day. This year, its arrival is set against commemorations of the beginning of World War I – 100 years ago. It is a bleak convergence, a stark reminder of the terrible recurrence of war in the 20th century – Wars that claimed countless lives, not only of soldiers, but of civilians ordinary people in deadly, terrible times.
The numbers of those who died in the wars are staggering – and while we may try to understand why these wars – and others since – happened, we can never fully comprehend the consequence of the loss of so many millions of lives. Men and women who would have met and married, but never had the chance, and the children that might have been born to those couples – lost. Musicians and poets who did not compose their best works – lost. Intelligent, intuitive leaders, compassionate thinkers who might have changed the course of human history, but did not survive to have their chance to make a difference, lost.
When we remember victory, we are also commemorating defeat - and as the date of each battle’s anniversary comes and goes, so too the roll-call of those who never came home from those battles. This year, on VE Day, when we think about the end of World War II, we are also a little bit haunted by the fact that less than 21 years – barely a single generation – separated it from the end of World War I.
Lord of life, be in our thoughts now and in the time to come, as we remember our wars and pray for peace. Amen