At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, members of the British, Commonwealth, international and local communities gathered in the garden of the British Ambassador’s Residence in Amman and stood together and remembered the sacrifices of all those who have given their lives in conflict and war for the cause of peace and freedom. It was at 11 o’clock on 11 November 1918 that the First World War ended, a war during which 9 million people died and 27 million were wounded. The time and date have been commemorated ever since but the Act now serves to commemorate all those who have perished in conflict since that time.
As the haunting notes of the faultless bugler of the Jordanian Armed Forces drifted into the autumnal Amman air, the traditional Two Minute Silence was observed. Then the British Ambassador, Indian Ambassador and the British Defence Attaché laid wreaths in memory of the Fallen of All Nations to the sound of a lament superbly played by a piper of the Jordanian Armed Forces. The Minister to the International Anglican Church of Amman led the Act, eloquently expressing many a thought and helping to make some sense of it all. It was a most meaningful, dignified and moving service.
Remembrance can mean different things to different people; some will have in mind relatives, close and distant, some will be thinking of friends and colleagues fallen in conflict and others, whilst wishing to honour the fallen, will also wish to reaffirm their commitment to peace. Of course, many will reflect on all these things and more. Whatever the rationale for commemorating those who have lost their lives in the service of their country, few would disagree that we must make the world a better place. As a 94 year old veteran of the Second World War battle of Kohima says ‘The only constructive use of the past is to inspire the present to improve the future.’