Info on 2011 Holy Land Pilgrimage

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November 10, 2008


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I've heard this song so many times, but I still can't listen to it without choking up.

My grandfather, George Chesterton, fought in the trenches for the entire war, 1914-1918. My great-uncle, Charles Hodkinson, was shot down and killed over occupied Holland on August 29th 1941.

Please God, never again.


When our last pilgrimage group was in Turkey this past spring, we made a side trip to Gallipoli. We were up top looking at the ANZAC trenches when a small group of Turks came up - it is a place of national memory for them as well. Their group was on the other side of the road, looking into the Turkish defensive trenches. We were about 25 feet from each other. I walked over and, with my modest Turkish, greeted their most senior member, and thanked them for letting us visit their land. He smiled and shook my hand warmly.


This is a very powerful, sad and bitter song. All the more poignant when compared to the Vera Lynn memories of so many veterans from WW II(the Big One, as Archie Bunker used to say).

I think the same is true of so many Vietnam vets, the so-called lucky ones who returned home in both physical and mental tattters. And I suspect a lot of our soldiers in Afgan now.

However, there are good stories coming from WW II. My father was a veteran, who, like so many, never saw combat (Ordinance Corps). Like a lot of his buddies, he was able to take advantage of the settlement money and return to university. In his case, he became an Anglican priest, an option that likely wouldn't have happened without the war experience.

Funny, eh?

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blank stare...

  • Copyright Rev. Joseph Walker, St Timothy's Anglican Church

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