I was especially moved to see Muslim sheikhs at the Day of Remembrance service for those who've died in war, held at St. Andrew's Church in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Also attending were former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as well as the American ambassador, the British ambassador, a plethora of military officers, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the UAE, as well as regular church and mosque attendees. I've visited mosques both here in the UAE and in Turkey, and if we people of different religious perspectives can show each other this kind of respect, it goes a long way toward reducing religious conflict, especially in the Middle East.
We all wore poppies, a symbol popularized by Canadian lieutenant and physician John McCrae's famous poem, In Flanders Fields, which he wrote on May 3, 1915, after witnessing the death of his 22-year-old friend on the battlefied in Flanders, Belgium. Poppies "grew in profusion in Flanders in the disturbed earth of the battlefields and cemeteries where war casualties were buried and thus became a symbol of Remembrance Day. The poem is often part of Remembrance Day solemnities in Allied countries which contributed troops to World War I, particularly in countries of the British Empire" (Wikipedia.)
The text of the poem, In Flanders Fields:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The Al Khubairat Singers and Orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Lyall, performed French composer Gabriel Faure's Requiem in D Minor, which Faure described as "dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest."
The recessional hymn was "I Vow to Thee My Country":
I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.
Words by Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, Thaxted tune by Gustav Holst.