IF you were out shopping on Saturday November 11 you might have come across Port Alfred High School pupils with collection tins for the SA Legion for “Poppy Day”, and for a donation you would get a poppy sticker.
It was Remembrance Day, commemorated to mark the cessation of hostilities in World War 1, which ended 99 years ago. It has also become a day to remember the fallen in many wars since then.
On Sunday, old military veterans were joined by a few current serving soldiers and members of the public for a Remembrance Day parade at the Moth hall.
Rev Des Spenceley officiated as chaplain and took his Scripture reading from 1 Samuel 17, the story of David facing Goliath.
“David was just a shepherd boy who went about with a sling and a few stones in his pocket and maybe a staff,” Spenceley said.
He related how David volunteered to be Israel’s champion to fight the Philistine giant Goliath when others were too afraid. Declining the offer of armour and a sword, he went into battle with just his sling and a few stones, and his faith in the Lord.
“It’s quite a gruesome story, but maybe not as bad as what some men saw in World War 1,” Spenceley said. “And then World War 2 was even worse.
“We haven’t had that expected peace after two world wars, there have been many smaller wars.”
Spenceley spoke about courage and bravery, from people who risk their lives to save others from drowning, to men like David who go out to battle not knowing if they would come back.
“Many gave the supreme sacrifice. For those who came back we give thanks to God,” he said.
“We face our own wars in life which require courage and bravery. We might think we can’t overcome them, but with God nothing is impossible.”
Spenceley quoted one of King George VI’s inspiring messages to the soldiers about to go to war against Nazi Germany, and ended with two poems about soldiers.
Hymns were sung and the wreath laying ceremony followed at which a bugler played the Last Post and Reveille, and a piper played while members of the Moths, SA Legion, SA Air Force Association, First City Regiment and councillor Ray Schenk representing Ndlambe Municipality laid wreaths in honour of fallen soldiers.
The well-known excerpt from Robert Laurence Binyon’s poem, For the Fallen, was read: “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.”