When I was in school we never had November 11th off. The principal (who had driven ambulances in London during the Blitz) believed this day of all days should be spent working not sleeping in or watching television. We had a service at 11 o'clock and for many years I read the poem printed below as part of it. I recommend you read it out loud.
A soldier's prayer
(This poem by an unknown writer was found in the desert during the battle of El Agheila, December 14th, 1942. It was quoted by Field-Marshall Montgomery in his personal message to the 21st Army Group before the attack on the Rhine, and reproduced in the English Digest.)
Stay with me God. The night is dark,
The night is cold. My little spark
Of courage dies. The night is long,
Be with me God, and make me strong.
I love a game, I love a fight.
I hate the dark, I love the light,
I love my child, I love my wife,
I am no coward. I love life.
Life with its changes of mood and shade,
I want to live. I'm not afraid,
But me and mine are hard to part -
Oh, unknown God, Lift up my heart.
You stilled the waters at Dunkirk
And saved your servants. All your work
Is wonderful, Dear God. You strode
Before us down that dreadful road.
We were alone and hope had fled.
We loved our country and our dead,
And could not shame them, so we stayed
The course, and were not much afraid.
Dear God, that nightmare road! And then
That sea! We got there... We were men,
My eyes were blind, my feet were torn,
My soul sang like a bird at dawn!
I'm but the son my mother bore,
A simple man and nothing more.
But - God of strength and gentleness,
Be pleased to make me nothing less.
Help me, Oh God, when death is near
To mock the haggard face of fear,
That when I fall - if fall I must -
My soul may triumph in the dust.