Looking ahead to Remembrance Day services in 2014, would this not be a significant opportunity to welcome representatives of those former enemy countries to attend?
Churches could make an effort to invite German, Japanese and Italian people now resident in the city and local to their places of worship; civic leaders could issue invitations to a “people’s parade” on the Royal Mile and then to a service at St Giles’ Cathedral.
If any veterans of the Second World War from those countries could attend such an event and subsequent service to mingle with our own veterans – hopefully to shake hands with them – then so much the more fitting. Praying for former enemies is one thing; making a public demonstration of reconciliation would be quite another.
Schools could also play their part to mark the November 2014 Remembrance Day; many will have pupils whose immediate or extended families are from these former enemy countries.
Would it not also be most fitting at Christmas services in 2014 if Silent Night/Stille Nacht could be sung both in English and German, to rekindle memories of the efforts ordinary soldiers made to bring a temporary halt to the slaughter in the trenches in 1914.
My late father, who witnessed atrocities in the Second World War that would give us nightmares to even think about, always said: “It is not enough to stand up at the 11th hour of the 11th day, of the 11th month and remember them.
“We must remember every day, be vigilant every day, to ensure that such horror and sacrifice are never again repeated.”
Braid Farm Road