We Sing

The following poem was written by Matthew Wang[1], one of the young authors published in the Legion’s 2015 publications of the poster, essay and poem contest.

THE SONG OF THE DEAD

The soldiers that fought,

Are very much gone,

Though their presence still lingers

And sings us a song

The screams of terror

Echo through a veterans head,

Though one thing they know is,

The soldiers are here, from A-Z.

The soldiers that fought,

Are very much gone,

Though their presence still lingers,

And sings us a song

The soldiers are here,

From dusk ‘till dawn,

So listen to their voices,

And hear out their song.

The soldiers that fought,

Are very much gone,

But their presence still lingers,

And sings us a song.

Music is not one of the things that we think of when we think of the war. We think of sounds like bombs shattering eardrums and people’s lives. We think of the whistle of bullets burning holes through tissue and bone. We think of the sound of weeping and of tears; of screams of terror and of the silence of too many lives lost too early.

We certainly don’t think of song.

Yet if one listened carefully there are songs that were sung as troops were entertained. There were the songs of the lives that continued to be lived in the midst of great tragedy as many young couples married and gave birth, as community was formed over supporting the war effort. There were songs of mourning and sorrow as no one was left unaffected by the loss of so many.

And the song of God’s heart beat in time with all people even through the violence that was ours that kept peace at bay.

It would have been easy at that time to decide not to go on. It would have been easy to ignore the song in the air during the war. It would have been easy to tune out the song of life that continued to be sung and lived after the war.

It would have been an easy thing to do and yet they didn’t.

Legions across Canada, like this one, continued to sing the song so that no one would ever forget the sacrifice that was given, so that no one would forget the destruction and death that comes with war, so that no one would forget the hard won peace that sings to us of another way.

As Matthew Wang describes, those soldiers “presence still lingers on and sings us a song.”[2]

So that today, we continue to remember that war steals the song from young people’s lives. We remember that war steals the dream from parent’s hearts.

We remember.

We also remember that beneath it all, there is a song that continues throughout all the pain, all the tragedy of our violence against one another as the song of the faithfulness of God still rings out.

Kurt Vonnegut says the following of “when [he] was a boy, [when] all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one and another. [He] had talked to old men who were on the battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God…some [could] remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.”[3]

After our own moment of silence that speaks to us of that moment when the silence spoke the word of God in peace, we still sing.

We sing to the God who is our help in ages past, our hope for years to come. We sing to the God whose mercies are new every morning. We sing knowing that God abides with us.

We sing.

We sing in the midst of fear and terror because there is always hope in the God whose steadfast love never ceases. Thanks be to God.

*This address was given at the Stockholm, SK Legion Service on November 11, 2015. Scripture texts read included Lamentations 3:21-24 and Matthew 5:1-12.

[1] http://www.legion.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/2015_WinnersBooklet1.pdf

[2] Ibid.

[3] Kurt Vonnegut, The Breakfast of Champions, 1973.http://

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “We Sing

  1. Thanks for sharing this. i remember well doing these services in my first parish. I considered it a real honour. And as for the song, my now deceased veteran father who told us little of the war, sang its songs over and over again. Thanks for the memory…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s