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Monday, 4 August 2014

WWI commemorations have hit the right note

I was nervous that the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of war would be a little bit too patriotic and triumphalist. Far too often we have seen governments make use of past battles to build a false justification of present conflicts.

I am therefore pleasantly surprised, at the end of the days events, to find myself moved and relieved at the commemorations I have seen on TV and ones I've seen locally.

The mood has been honest, tragic, downbeat - but most importantly of all, with a grim determination to always work for peace, because the opposite is barbarism. The first World War was a disaster for Europe. It butchered the young men of an era, and wrecked the hope and progress of the period. It paved the way for a much greater evil that was to come under the rise of fascism.

All war leaves a trail of destruction, not just evident in broken lives and buildings, but in scarred generations wrestling with what they have done.

In the Sunderland Minster service, we pledged ourselves to continue to work for peace. At a time of butchery in Gaza, Syria, Ukraine and Iraq, it is imperative that we turn all our efforts towards peacemaking. There is much to be done.

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