REV Ian Miller, local minister, writes for the Advertiser...

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EXACTLY one hundred years after the First World War ended, at the invite of Sir Malcolm Colquhoun I conducted the Armistice service at the war memorial in Luss. It was an emotional and poignant day.

I wondered what it must have been like on November 11, 1918. I found myself imagining…

The time is 5am and Luss sleeps. The village is unaware that an agreement has been signed to end the war.

It will be 11am before it becomes official and London goes wild with delight. Bells ring out, bands parade the streets followed by cheering crowds of soldiers and civilians and the city gives itself up wholeheartedly to rejoicing.

Word spreads throughout the country and in due course reaches the village. I imagine doors opening, people moving into the streets with smiles on their faces…soon their husbands and sons would be home at last after four long years of war.

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And yet, for some, the smiles are strained. A mother dabs the tear away from her eye, for her son will not return. A wife wonders just how she will cope for her husband, who now lies in a foreign field.

For one young lass it is all too much. She dreamed of that day when she would walk down the aisle of the nearby Kirk. The handsome lad that kissed her goodbye is missing – presumed dead.

What must it have been like for them during those four long years? Waiting, watching perhaps for that fateful telegram that announced their son, their husband, their brother was missing?

But what must it have been like four years earlier for those young men who went off to fight?

They swapped the tranquil beauty of an iconic village for the hell of trench warfare.

They swapped the sound of the gentle water of the loch lapping over the pebbles on the beach for the unremitting rain and squelching mud.

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They swapped bird song for artillery fire. They swapped the laughter of friends and neighbours for the groans and anguish of fallen comrades.

Frankly we can’t imagine. It’s a nightmare beyond our ken. And yet...and yet they went.

So why did they go? Perhaps because they believed that indeed it would be the war that ended all wars. But it didn’t!

It is right that we remember the sacrifice, but is that enough? May we have our own vision of turning the “swords into ploughshares and the spears into pruning hooks”. That would be a good way to remember those who gave so much.

Lest we forget.