Remember the mourners as well as dead
John 15: 13 Jesus said, "No one has a love greater than this, to lay down your life for your friends." (NIV Holy Bible)
I am fortunate to have been born after World War Two, for obvious reasons.
Growing up in the 1950s meant that I heard a lot about the war, without having memories of it. My life has not been touched by the immense grief so many people have felt, and continue to feel, through the loss of their loved ones, who have laid down their lives for the benefit of others.
As I've matured, I've watched the horror of Northern Ireland, with the huge loss of life. My cousin served in the Falklands conflict, where 255 service men laid down their lives. 255 more grieving families.
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When America and Britain invaded Iraq our son was a baby. I felt afraid as a mother, wondered if it would last long enough for him to be called up to serve.
I sighed with relief because it was soon over. Yet many men, and women too, laid down their lives, many more families mourning them, and adapting to life without them.
In recent years hundreds of brave service men and women have laid down their lives, in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have watched with horror at the loss of life, and prayed for all of them, and for all those who are left to grieve. Yet I do not know what it feels like personally.
But my time has come to be useful, because as a minister, with churches in Plymouth, Torpoint and Millbrook, I have some contact with families who live with loss, and the fear of losing their loved ones as they serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I mainly listen. Occasions, such as "Messy Church", gives my churches the opportunity to provide activities for their children which brings happiness. Our churches' place is alongside our service men, women and families, if they let us. So I say: "We are here for you, please let us serve you." I don't know how they feel, but I do know that they are all precious in God's sight, and that God loves them, and cares for them, and wants us to do the same.
John Clarke, church steward at Mount Gould, told me this: "Harry Patch said, 'Yes remember the dead, but do not forget those that mourn, for every one that was killed perhaps six were mourning.'"
We remember, and thank you. Rev Alison Richardson is Methodist minister at Mount Gould, Cornerstone at Torpoint and Millbrook