Remembrance, a Secular Reflection

On Sat 11 Nov 2017, the Defence Humanist Network hosted the second secular
Remembrance event at the Fitzrovia Chapel in London. The unconsecrated
chapel was filled with more than double the number of attendees than last year’s
event, itself considered highly successful.
The importance of being able to reflect on the meaning of Remembrance, the act
of Remembrance itself, and building a support network that shares the value of
Remembrance with no religious connections is one of the main goals of the
Defence Humanist Network and all involved can be extremely proud of the
manner in which this event was conducted.
VIPs included: Lt Gen R Nugee, Chief of Defence People; AVM W James, AOC 22
(Training) Group; Dr Roger Hutton, Senior Champion for the Defence Humanist
Network; Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of Humanists UK and Prof A C
Grayling, Patron for the Defence Humanists.
The event began at 1500hrs with Lt Col L Quinn playing “Flowers of the Forest”
and Humanist celebrant Flt Lt Ruth Staton welcoming the packed crowd. Andrew
Copson, CEO Humanists UK, provided the welcome address followed by several
deeply moving readings by members of the Defence Humanist Network and the
keynote speech by Prof Grayling on what Remembrance means.
The London Humanist Choir sang a beautiful rendition of “We Will Remember
Them” and the traditional bugler sounded “The Last Post” and Reveille. Of
particular note was Sqn Ldr Emily McCullouch’s highly emotional account of her
experience of loss, and the unfolding impact on the bereaved family, whilst
serving in the Combined Air Operations Cell during Operation HERRICK.
The increase in demand for non-religious Remembrance events such as this is
something which the DHN will focus on as it gains support from across the Armed
Forces and the Civil Service. The number of people declaring themselves as non-
religious is now over 50,000 and many are keen that local Remembrance events
become more secular so that everyone can take part in an inclusive environment.
Sqn Ldr Alan Lindsell
DHN Communications Rep

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