Saturday, 9 November 2013

A prelude to the day after.

Like so many times before, I sit on the day before Remembrance Sunday and ponder things.

I remember the first time I went to Iraq. It was to carry out some maintenance on an aircraft so it was going to just be for a couple of weeks and then a swift return home with the rest of my small team. Although I had received some pre-deployment training, I wasn't due to go out when I did but it seemed fitting that I should go because my training was fresh in my mind.

Getting there was a case of jet power most of the way, followed by a tactical landing in a Hercules... interesting stuff when everything is blacked out. I was very glad to step onto Iraqi earth, I can tell you (I am not a particularly good flier).

The day me and my team arrived, there had been a missile strike and there was an information lock-down... three people were killed. A missile had found its way into the accommodation and they were lost whilst off duty.

It makes you very aware of the dangers. In ten days out there, my splat map was up in the hundreds... that is a count of the rockets/missiles that had landed on the base.

I saw many a brave soul and many a scared heart... and plenty of fearful eyes. Yet through it all, everyone got back up to their feet when the sirens gave the all clear and carried on. That is what we do.

Have a heart tomorrow. Go to a Remembrance service. Listen to the names of the fallen being read out. For everyone we lost, there were many left behind to grieve.

Be still the restless dead, 
Who fell so far away. 
Your sacrifice, remembered, 
Kept us free today. 

 Be still the restless dead, 
 Who fell from azure sky, 
You will be remembered, 
Our gratitude won't die. 

Be still the restless dead, 
Who sailed across the waves, 
They are in our hearts this day, 
Though so many have no graves.

 Be still the restless dead, 
Who strove at home in war. 
Your hardship kept us living. 
Rest... and strive no more.  

Be still the restless dead, 
Who came from foreign lands, 
To help us in great need, 
Our freedom in your hands. 

 Be still the restless dead, 
For you have done us proud. 
We'll sing hymns of your bravery, 
With joy, we'll sing them loud.

I will remember them.

See you from a humble home.

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