I want to share a story with you today about a young man called Gerald. Gerald was in his early twenties, born in the Welsh valleys, a young man full of energy, laughter and hope. He had a marvellous sense of humour and was particularly fond of his young cousin, a little girl who was about 3 or 4 years old. He made such a vivid impression that she remember him with great fondness all of her life, even though he died when she was only six as a casualty of WWII.
The little girl was my mother and she was able to share her memories of Gerald with the family as I grew up having found out a lot more about him from relatives as she grew older. She remembered the pain of her grieving family and the very real day-to-day loss experienced by many of her friends who lost family members - and there were many.
With every year that goes by, WWII seems ever more distant. The realities of what it means to live in a world at war is becoming consigned to film, photographs, stories and memorials. So it is more important than ever, for all of us, old and young to take a moment to celebrate the bravery of so many and to reflect together this weekend. Let us take time to listen to those voices that remain and those voices heard now only through recorded media and carved stones. Let us honour their sacrifice and commit ourselves to work for peace and justice, so our world may never know such a war again.
God bless you, Sarah"