The British newspaper the Sunday Times, based in London, has released a commemorative image on their Twitter account today honouring the fallen who gave their lives for the country since the beginning of the First World War in 1914. The image depicts poppies produced for Remembrance Sunday every year by the Poppy Appeal, a charity which raises money for people affected from conflict, particularly ex-service members. The image also appeared simultaneously on the Sunday Times‘ parent newspaper, The Times.
The verse “At the going down of the sun. And in the morning. We will remember them” comes from the poem ‘For the Fallen‘ by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943). Binyon wrote this poem while sitting on a clifftop facing the Cornwall coast in mid September 1914, a few weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. British and German casualties had already begun to escalate. Binyon was too old to fight in the war and took on a role as a medical orderly, treating the wounded in field hospitals. Tragically, his brother-in-law and several close friends perished fighting on the front line. He was said to have penned ‘For the Fallen’ after being moved by the opening of the ‘Great War’ and the sheer loss of life experienced by the British Expeditionary Force. Around 16 million civilians and military personnel perished during the four years of history’s first truly global war. 2014 marks the centenary of the beginning of World War I.
Laurence Binyon’s poem was published in full by the Times newspaper on the 21st September 1914. The full poem is reproduced below, courtesy of the All Poetry website:
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 her 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 their 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.