The Cumnock Chronicle

March 13th 1925

From the Cumnock Chronicle of March 13th 1925

New Cumnock


MEMORIAL TABLET UNVEILED IN PARISH CHURCH


On Sunday forenoon the war memorial was unveiled in the Parish Church at a most impressive service conducted by the Rev William Bodin, M.A. There was a good attendance of members and friends of the fallen from the surrounding districts. As the congregation assembled Mr Sydney Latimer played the Chopin “Marche Funebre”. The order of service was as follows:-

Psalm 121
Hymn 328 “ There is a land of pure delight”
Reading – 2nd Samuel 1 and 13
Hymn 509 “Eternal Father, strong to save”
Reading – St John 11 to 18
Hymn 593 “Safe in the arms of Jesus”
Paraphrase 66

Mr Bodin chose as the text for his sermon St John 15 and 13 - “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.

He said in the course of his address:-

Life is sweet to everyone. Even though sickness has made many inroads into one’s health and each succeeding day is one of pain, and night a ceaseless agony, we cling to life with great desire. How much more strong is that desire when with the buoyancy of youth each day brings some new revelation of the goodness and greatness of God and his promise of a great fulfilment. It is one of the greatest evidences of God, Jesus and the immortality of the soul, that in every age there are to be found men who will willingly give up their all – not counting the cost. It is one of the lasting evidences that this life of ours, which is bounded by death, is a small thing, and that the real life is eternal.

THE VISION OF YOUTH’S SACRIFICE

in every generation is a striking commentary on all the ways of the world. How like a flower life is – the seed, the bud, the full flower blooming in its sweetness and tasting the ephemeral breath of heaven and of sun, feeling the kiss of the butterfly, the caress of the bee; and then, aweary of the life it has tasted to the full, going down to a death that is natural. It is surely one of the greatest proofs of God’s moving in us that behind lives that seem shallow and selfish, behind many a passion that has been mistaken for love, there is in men’s souls that spirit of eternal lovingness which can enable them to hand back life in the bud, its fullness untasted, its glory unknown; hand it back a gift to their friends.

IN OUR GATHERING HERE TODAY

there must be many hearts filled with emotion and memories no words can give expression to. As the days of autumn gather toward winter, and each passing gust of wind leaves a thickening depth of rustling leaves in the lane and in many a corner along its hedges, so the passing years cannot steal from us our ultimate agonies, that lie stirring about our lives like scattered leaves in many a nook, round many a secret shrine. Nothing can aid us, no one can help us except Jesus Himself speaking to us in our agony of mind in the words of our text. He speaks of death, but the word He uses is love, and love is endless life.

THAT IS OUR CONSOLATION

They are not dead those heroic comrades of ours; they are near us today with the great unseen host of God’s angels. Their wounds are healed, their bodies are made whole. Down in the smoke and the hell of the battle, when home and mother and friends seemed so far away as to be a dream, they found their God, and in death they found life eternal. If the fire in your heart has gone out, listen to Jesus. Let His breath of love waft over you and kindle your faith anew in your souls; so to you the spring will come again with its flowers and beauty and wondrous freshness, and in the trees the birds will sing once more. The memory of this day is Duty.

LET THIS MEMORIAL BE A VOICE

speaking to those who lost, of the comfort of eternal hope; and to those whose family circle was undepleted let it say “All that you have, your own, your children’s lives, were purchased for you with our blood.”. Remembering what they gave, dare we hold back anything? What they gave! It is impossible for us to imagine all that their sacrifices meant to them. Life lay before them rich and beautiful; they gathered it all in their hands – their opening hearts, their waking souls, fresh youth and all that manhood held of things that still might be – they gathered it all in their hands and laid it down a sacrifice. They laid it down, asking nothing but that for us life might still hold the substance of their dreams. If they could speak to us today they would say to us:-

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray

Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve;
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that I once had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad

That would be their wish because they were young and fine and brave and generous; but we must remember, because we are unworthy, because we never deserved what they gave, when they sacrificed their all. Our memorial will speak to countless generations when we here are gone. Their questions will be – “These are those who died. What of those who lived? What of the friends? What have they done to vindicate that noblest of all sacrifices?”

During the singing of the hymn after the sermon Mr Bodin, accompanied by a deputation of the ladies of the Connelpark Work Party who erected the memorial, and relatives of the fallen, retired to the vestibule, where Mrs William McWhirter performed the unveiling ceremony. Mr Bodin then dedicated the tablet “To the Glory of God and in grateful memory of the men of the congregation who gave their lives for their friends.”. He then read the following list of names inscribed on the memorial, which is of bronze on a white marble background :-

David Barr, Wm. Beatson, Wm Bell, George S Brown, Matthew Brown, Wm. Collins, S.A. Cunningham, Wm. Denim, David Ferguson, John Gracie, Nisbet C Gray, Wm Hill, Charles Howat, James Hunter, Thomas Kilpatrick, Wm. Martin, John Maxwell, John S Melvin, George Miller, Andrew Morrison, John Morgan, Robert Murray, R.A. MacGill, Archibald MacKenzie, D.W. MacKenzie, Jas. MacMillan, George MacMillan, Samuel MacWhirter, John Nisbet, David Paton, John Paton, Hugh Peden, Alex Rodgerson, George Rodgerson, William Sharp, William Sharp, William Sloan, William Sloan, William MacKerrow Sloan, Alex Sweden, Richard Telfer, Geo. Walker, John Walker, Harry Warren

The congregation stood during the unveiling and dedication and during the playing of the “Dead March in Saul”. A number of wreaths were placed at the foot of the memorial after the service and during the day.


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