ENGLAND: Archbishop of Canterbury says new national Armed Forces Memorial helps 'make the invisible visible'
October 12, 2007
[Lambeth Palace, London] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, gave a sermon at the October 12 Service of Dedication of the Armed Forces Memorial, in which he said that the memorial is a reminder of the often invisible service and skill that keeps Britain's national community secure.
"We lift up a visible and tangible reminder, so that we don't get trapped in unthinking, complacent security...," Williams said. "[E]ach name here recorded represents a unique moment of loss and anguish for a family and a group of comrades. There is nothing abstract about this commemoration. In doing this, we rediscover things about our own humanity that we often shy away from - our urgent need of each other, the reality of a common life supported by gift and sacrifice."
Williams stressed the need for the memorial as a way to allow grief and compassion to enter human lives, however momentarily: "We have let ourselves be challenged and our comfort interrupted by this memorial," he said.
"For this brief moment we have seen more than we normally let ourselves see; and we pray the God upon whose risky, sacrificial love we all depend to teach us the honesty, the thanksgiving, and the pity we need to keep us fully human," he added.
Williams also spoke of the appreciation for all elements of the armed forces, whether in the front line or in more supportive roles: "When we recognize our debt to them, it is not only to those who have served and struggled heroically but to those whose daily work and faithful support make it possible for heroism to happen. When we say our thank you's to them, it is to all of them."