We are used to remembering the fallen in world wars at Holy Trinity Utrecht on Remembrance Sunday, usually with a two-minute silence. Some members of our congregation and the Chaplain also take part in the Memorial Ceremony at the Gansstraat cemetory in Utrecht. Although the Netherlands was not in the Great War of 1914-18, as the Anglican Church in Utrecht we have close links with those who suffered and with our neighbours in Belgium.
This year is a special occasion, as it marks the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, on 11 November 1918. It falls on a Sunday this year, so we will remember on the actual day at our Remembrance Sunday service at Holy Trinity.
During our service, the silence will begin with Mark Postma playing the “Last Post” on the trumpet. Some of you will recognise this from the many services of remembrance held around the world, including that at the Cenotaph in London. Our Diocese also suggests, with all the Church of England, that we include a prayer in the service from those used in 1918. In conjunction with this is a project to ring out church bells, as was done to celebrate peace. You may know that during wartime the bells were kept silent as they were only to be rung if an invasion occurred, hence the significance.
Of course, Remembrance Day is not only about the Great War but for all conflicts since, such as the Second World War, Korean and Vietnamese wars. At Holy Trinity, our members have a history of helping with those interred or taken prisoner, not always in the full light of publicity!
The following is from Arnold Rietveld, who will be laying a wreath on behalf of Holy Trinity at the ceremony:
“ .. the fallen soldiers, officers and airman of the British Commonwealth buried on the first municipal cemetery on the Gansstraat … Among the soldiers buried there are at least twelve para’s from the Battle of Arnhem, who were hospitalised in the vicinity of the church, who died from their wounds. Members of the congregation, through the wife of the caretaker Mrs Breuning, were able to gain access to the Commonwealth patients there and collected fruit and cigarettes for them.”
Think on this when we can honour those who served us, in peace and blessings.