A letter from America.

Just found out that 21st is Happy World Hello Day.
Seems  appropriate that this ‘letter’ in for form of an email came today!
I had sent my cousin John Herbert a link to the post ‘All at sea’ see recent posts
which included some information about his award ‘Wings of Gold’ and my love for the Hymn ‘Eternal Father’
He immediately sent me a really funny email about poetry and other learned things.
However, the latter part of the email I am publishing here, with the photos he attached. It is of course part of our family history but I think it is of general interest too.
His letter from America from John Herbert  …
Copy of download (2)       Copy (2) of Copy of download (3)          Copy of download (5)   (some pics have disappeared looking into it – Ann)     .
Remembrance Day ——
I am not in the least bit religious – but I am always moved by the singing of “Eternal Father Strong to Save”. It was written in 1860 by William Whiting of Winchester. It is the Hymn of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and although it is quintessentially English – it is also the beloved Hymn of the United States Navy – the United States Marines and the US Coastguard – one of the many things our services have in common. The last verse is
usually sung as a prayer:-
“O Trinity of love and power
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour
From rock and tempest fire and foe
Protect them whereso’er they go
Thus evermore shall rise to thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea”
Twenty-four years ago today – Louise and I were singing this hymn at a memorial service in the beautiful non demoninational chapel on the enormous US Navy base at Pensacola Florida.
I sometimes associate these words with some other words which I heard all too often:-
“For as much as it hath pleased Almighty God of His great mercy to take unto Himself the soul of our dear brother here departed – we therefore commit his body to the deep”  – said as our shipmate – sewn in sailcloth slid down the plank and over the side. At one time – in the Pacific – this was almost a daily occurrence – and we got into our planes and flew off the deck again – no time for mental anguish in those days.
20120301 John      The love of his life Louise 2011
                                                               This is cousin John and Louise – the love of his life!
John’s letter continued
I thought of the following words – from the Golden Treasury – as Louise and I walked slowly and silently through the enormous cemeteries at Normandy:-
If I should die,  think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave once her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.
The Soldier – Rupert Brooke.
I am a survivor – all my comrades in arms are dead – and I have but one close friend left from the old days – and she is calling me to Sunday dinner!
Ann again  –
John is a second cousin and  I guess he did his bit in many ways,  for we all thought was lasting peace!
On  a more personal level I barely knew him until be-friended me when my mother (his cousin) – died five years ago. He is a second cousin I think, but is happy for me to call him uncle John.  His letters have kept me going! Like blogging I guess, we are all just doing our little bit!    Funny post follows…Happy World –  in  places –  Hallo!
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