Today is a day to remember those who have lost their lives fighting for their country. There are no words that express this day better than the beautiful poem For The Fallen by Laurence Binyon, which has become synonymous with Remembrance day. I find this poem so moving when I think of all the young men who lost their lives in the first world war, who never got to live out their hopes and dreams. Today it is important to honour their memory and enjoy the freedom that they fought for and we are so lucky to have.
For the Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
For The Fallen was first published in the Times on September 21 1914. Laurence Binyon (1869-1943) wrote it while working at the British Museum, and did not go to the western front until 1916, as a Red Cross orderly. The poem’s fourth verse is now used all over the world during services of remembrance, and is inscribed on countless war monuments.