Sandra Chapman: It’s peace we want, not war, so let us remember that on Armistice Day

Where does one start with the news this week? Most of us I suspect were making various notes about Christmas shopping when this war in northern Gaza started hotting up.
Sandra Chapman on why Remembrance Day is an occasion for all ChristiansSandra Chapman on why Remembrance Day is an occasion for all Christians
Sandra Chapman on why Remembrance Day is an occasion for all Christians

​In between breaks our ears have been picking up what television is trying to tell us. And it’s not good. As I write Israel’s soldiers from the 551 Reserve Paratroop Battalion have clamped their boots in Gaza not far from the main hospital.

Wars are ugly things. No time for friendly cups of coffee on arrival at the destination. Israel’s chief Col Blitch of the 551 declared to whatever media was around him that ‘they fought when we came in but folded after a day’.

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I suspect by the time this column appears in print Israel will have gained territory it may not have expected to have to fight for this year.

I have never understood hatred of Jews. Aren’t they just people like the rest of us, believing perhaps in different religious activity with a history that we know not a lot about? My father was Church of Ireland, my mother Presbyterian and we were encouraged to go to both churches. Jews were never mentioned that I remember. My preference was always the Presbyterians as they had better hymns, with nicer music. And I still feel that.

In my area the only religion slightly out of key with the locals were the Plymouth Brethren. They had a good taxi service so we were happy to go to their Friday night services in the nearest town because they transported us there and held good summer and Christmas parties.

None of us children was that keen on going to either Christian church every Sunday, a day we preferred to scamper about at will always ending in a sweet buying session at the nearest shop which happened to be at the end of an airfield which had been in use during the Second World War.

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It was only when the IRA decided to make their presence felt that our beloved Ulster found itself fighting an enemy determined to make its presence felt, not unlike the Jew haters in Gaza.

This weekend is Remembrance time for all of us of the Christian faith. And who knows what will happen at the Cenotaph in London, the heart of our Remembrance which embraces two world wars.

Armistice Day the name we know it by, is a sacred time and we will be wearing our poppies with pride, but there is trouble afoot even for that.

A pro- Palestinian protest at the height of our Armistice event in London could lead to disorder when there should be silence and reverence for those who died all those decades ago. We here also use this event to remember those who died as a result of The Troubles including many British soldiers. The death toll in what is called the Gaza Operation has been in the thousands including children and babies, scenes which have shocked us to the core.

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November is the month of the year when we’ve always portrayed our gratitude to our war dead, by taking part in many of the commemorative parades, maybe visiting graves of those long gone family members who never came home.

My late English father in law was a former military man who never spoke much about his role in the 2nd World War. Like many old soldiers he preferred to keep his memories to himself not wanting to appear heroic. Each Remembrance Sunday saw him on parade in his local village, tears in his eyes. Armistice Day this year may have new meaning for us all.

Shouldn’t we help the hungry and not chase them off the streets?

This week our new King has read us the Governments plans going forward and I must say he didn’t look as comfortable as I expected for such a grand occasion. And that was nothing to Queen Camilla who looked as though she would have preferred to be out in her wellies digging up vegetables.

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Then there was William- Prince of Wales away doing important business and Prince Harry swanning around the social scene in his new American life.

The Duchess of Edinburgh left for Canada on a 5-day trip and Princess Ann no doubt was filling her time doing good works. She must only ever be home for Christmas and birthdays.

The English media seem obsessed with Royalty. One paper carried a picture of Prince William – who in fact is currently in Singapore - looking dapper in baseball cap.

The article even gave readers instructions on how to perfect the look. I don’t suppose the Prince minds have his look copied by every handsome man in the country

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The King himself didn’t look terribly comfortable in his first Parliamentary visit. He may have felt the heat in his uniform of an Admiral of the fleet. No doubt he must have been glad the State Crown was on a seat of gold braid to his right. A very heavy piece of jewellery I suspect.

Getting a lot of attention this week despite the big Royal occasion, was Home Secretary Suella Braverman who has declared that people who sleep on the streets in tents were causing `a nuisance and distress’. In fact homeless charities could `face fines for providing tents that become a nuisance’.

This country could get over-run by the homeless from other parts of the world. As a child I remember the southern Irish`gypsies’ we called them who came north to get some kind of life. They lived in tents along the road side. Some would have starved had my mother not fed them.