Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day, or Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day in England!

Ken and Barbara at war museum

We are well here and very busy. We had our Dedication Ceremony on Saturday with President Oaks, of the European Area Presidency, here to do the dedication. He did a marvelous job. There were lots and lots of people here for both the ceremony and to visit the Centre on that day so we were very busy. Everyone is so excited to have this Visitors' Centre. It is the only one in Europe so we are very blessed to be able to be part of it.

The last two or three weeks have been filled with many patriotic moments as we lead up to Veterans Day/Remembrance Day/ or Armistice Day as it is called over here. I have been very impressed with the way they honor their veterans over here. They feel so strongly about the way that this nation has been preserved through the years because of many, many brave men and women who have fought for their freedom. They had a special meeting at church on Sunday. The Bishop was one of the speakers and he spoke of the significance of this day to English people. He said that over 11 million people were killed during World War I and over 59 million were killed during World War II. Everyone at church and all over the town is wearing the poppy pin. They have been wearing them for 2-3 weeks now. The Bishop talked about the significance of that poppy symbol. He told about Belgium during all of the fighting in that area during World War I. He said that because of all of the men walking around, fighting, pulling cannons, etc. it stirred up the soil so that the next spring all of the dormant seeds in the earth came to life and the whole country was covered with Red Poppys. Hence, the poppy has become a symbol of those historic battles and the brave men who fought and lost their lives there.

He then told a very touching story about the Gospel and how it affects lives for good, no matter what ethnicity we might be. He told this story of World War II:
There was an LDS family that was very active in the underground in the Netherlands. They would rescue both British and American pilots who were shot down and harbor them in their attic until they could be safely returned to England via the underground. One Sunday morning, they had a British pilot and an American pilot in their attic hiding there. The British pilot happened to be LDS. He asked if they could hold a Sacrament Meeting service that day in the home. They were just about to begin when there was a knock on the door. The mother of the family went with trepidation down the stairs to the front door. Standing in the doorway were two German soldiers. She invited them in with much fear and forboding, but much to her surprise, they said that they too were LDS and asked if they could take part in any LDS church services that she might be holding that day. She took them up the stairs and introduced them to the British and American pilots. One of the German soldiers and the British pilot sat side by side and blessed the sacrament. They held the service, afterwhich the two German soldiers left, never to be heard of again. They never let on about the two pilots that were hiding there. The two pilots were later returned to England and safety. To all of us, this story teaches a great lesson. "Serving God is the most important thing we do!"

Being over here has made me really appreciate all of those great men who have served to keep the world free through the years. My Grandfather Sharpe (British Army Major during World War I and World War II), my dad, Clarence Theobald (US Air Army-Air Force during World War II), and Kenneth (US Army during the Vietnam War) are all heroes to me. Kenneth and I both have several uncles and cousins that served in the Armed Forces during those wars. They sacrificed much so that we can be free. What a great experience it has been to be here and see the appreciation afforded our veterans. We need to do more of that in the great US of A, the greatest nation on earth!

Well, another busy week is beginning. It is beautiful here today. We are even seeing the sun for the first time in several days. It has been pouring with rain for it seems like forever. The leaves are beautiful though and fall is truly in the air.

We are looking forward so much to our daughter, Brooke, and her family who are coming over to visit us for a couple of weeks. They will be here on November 24 and will be here for two weeks. We are so excited to see that sweet new baby, Emma, and of course sweet little Ady. We are having a real American Thanksgiving Dinner with all of my English cousins while Brooke's family is here. It should be great. Hope you all have a great week.