‘Tis, finally, the Man, who, lifted high,
Conspicuous object in a Nation’s eye,
Or left unthought-of in obscurity,–
Who, with a toward or untoward lot,
Prosperous or adverse, to his wish or not—Plays,
in the many games of life, that one
Where what he most doth value must be won:
Whom neither shape of danger can dismay,
Nor thought of tender happiness betray;
Who, not content that former worth stand fast,
Looks forward, persevering to the last,
From well to better, daily self-surpast:
Who, whether praise of him must walk the earth
For ever, and to noble deeds give birth,
Or he must fall, to sleep without his fame,
And leave a dead unprofitable name—
Finds comfort in himself and in his cause;
And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws
His breath in confidence of Heaven’s applause:
This is the happy Warrior; this is He
That every Man in arms should wish to be.
(Character of the Happy Warrior – Willian Wordsworth )
It was my mother’s decision, irrespective of cost when choosing a the coop as a funeral director for my deceased father. We began to notice there were more of these than pubs or banks.
Many I’d learned were Freemasons. That wasn’t his style, to say the least. Neither was he religious and for this reason we chose a civil celebrant to conduct his service.
A soldier once, a pacifist always. He was know as one who spoke up for his fellow man.We’d been brought up in Brixton where he encouraged us to see all as the same, without regard to the colour of their skin.
Together we’d gone to the protest about Iraq in 2003, and the following year I went with him to remember his fallen comrades in Normandy. I remember being with him again when Tony Blair emerged from Downing Street and he shouted, in his veterans garb “How many are going to die this time?”
In Normandy. He’d stumbled on the parade when his breath failed him, a young sergeant grsbbed him and handed him to medics but he’d wanted to finish and joined in at rhe back. The next day we’d moved on to Ypres and shared a hotel with a group from a Dublin based peace organisation and their band . Even at 85 he was always one to get up and dance.