Ascension : Church News
Submitted by The Islander (Islander Editors) 17.11.2011 (Article Archived on 01.12.2011)
The Ascension Island Service of Remembrance took place on Sunday,13th.Nov at St. Mary’s Church.
St. Mary’s Church
Ascension Island (Diocese of St.Helena)
From: FATHER CHRISTOPHER BROWN
The Ascension Island Service of Remembrance took place on Sunday,13th.Nov at St. Mary’s Church. The Church itself is a War Memorial to those who died in military service in two previous centuries. Many memorials to Officers and Men hang on the church walls and some of those who died are as close in age as the seniors of Two Boats School who, this year ,will be taking part in the service. Also taking part, are the Ascension Island Hospital Staff. The first island hospital was a military one and there is an historic link with the hospital going back through many conflicts ;
I am grateful to Flt.Lt. Barnaby Jones that he has arranged for a special wreath to be flown in for the hospital staff to lay this year. Visitors to St. Mary’s will find, standing in the consecrated ground at the front of the church, Memorials to the Royal Marines and to those who perished in the Falkland Conflict and in the World Wars. The American dead are commemorated within St. Mary’s Church.
This year we honour all of them ,and we make a special point of remembering that in the nine years of International involvement in Afghanistan that there have been 2,719 deaths in the coalition forces.
The number of British dead is now much higher than British deaths in Iraq or in the Falkland Conflict.
There have been 384 deaths and 1,802 wounded in action; 3,472 have suffered from disease or non-battle injuries. The losses among the American forces have been much higher: 1,450 dead and 14,733 wounded; this is in Afghanistan alone. These figures, terrible as they are, pale into insignificance when compared with the many millions of military and civilian lives lost in the two World Wars. On Remembrance Sunday we remember that our freedom, peace and way of life has come to us at a terrible cost to others whom we will never know who ,in the words of the Kohimah Epitaph, “Gave their today for our tomorrow”. On Sunday we will gather as an island community to pay our respects to those Fallen in Battle and to pledge ourselves anew to work for peace and good-will towards all humankind.