Letter: Farnham’s Remembrance service was perfect, why add the hymns?

Wednesday 23rd November 2022 7:00 am
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A huge crowd again gathered for Farnham’s Remembrance Day parade and service last Sunday – with this year’s outdoor service incorporating the St Andrew’s Church service for the first time
A huge crowd again gathered for Farnham’s Remembrance Day parade and service last Sunday – with this year’s outdoor service incorporating the St Andrew’s Church service for the first time (Farnham Town Council )

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As usual I attended the Remembrance Day ceremony at the war memorial in Farnham.

I found the first part, with well-known readings commemorating the fallen, the silence, and the laying of many wreaths, very moving, dignified and inclusive.

The readings had obviously been chosen with care, and this seemed to me to be an utterly fitting ritual way to remember at a war memorial. Surely even when these were erected they were intended to be places where people of any beliefs could honour the dead and injured, and express their universal sorrow and gratitude.

For this reason the Cenotaph in London very deliberately has no religious symbolism in its design.

So this first part of the Farnham ceremony seemed to me utterly suited to its setting and to our increasingly diverse modern society.

However, the next part was a Christian act of worship, with no reference whatever to the fact that thousands of lost soldiers, and many of those who have continued to commemorate them over the years, have had different beliefs, religious or otherwise.

This seemed to negate the inclusive and universal nature of the earlier elements of the ceremony. I found this disappointing.

I do hope that in future the entire Farnham Act of Remembrance becomes more inclusive, perhaps focusing on remembering and honouring the fallen throughout.

Sue Willson

Firgrove Court, Farnham

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