Speech by Kåre Egholm Pedersen on 25 May 2013 at the Memorial stone to 7 airmen of LAN R5679 På dansk 14 JUN 2013
Kåre Egholm Pedersen made this speech before the unveiling of the
Memorial Stone. After the unveiling he said A Soldier's Prayer.
On the night before 25 September 1942 at 0122 hrs. the British bomber Lancaster R5679 crashed west of Grønhøj. So briefly it can be said why so many people are gathered here today for the unveiling of the memorial stone to the 7 airmen who perished in the air crash. It is to maintain for posterity and future generations that once there were people who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
The detailed technical circumstances of the air
crash and the names of the many people who have been involved so that we can
stand here today will be for others to mention. Some people present here
have been involved since the idea was conceived and others know everything
about aviation and types of aircraft. So in my speech
I think it is because every generation has
experienced something that has made such a big impression that people have
thought that the world would be poorer if
Memorial stones can relate about great
persons who have done something special for their area or their country - or
as in our case today - point at a historical event
First of all I think of the families of the 5
British and 2 Canadian victims of the shoot down:
Morrison, Duffield, and
The shoot down of Lancaster R5679 also left
its marks in this area. Here I particularly think of the Laigaards who have
owned Grønhøj Kro for
70 years have passed since that fatal night.
Besides the pole at the crash site I think
nothing has drawn attention to the courage and spirit of self-sacrifice that
You do not have to be a local patriot or in
other ways to be involved in history to be moved by it. There is something
special about the spirit that drove the airmen out on their dangerous mission
at night over enemy occupied territory. It reminds me of a part of John,
chapter 15, where Jesus talks to his disciples of the commandment of love.
He then tells them:
I know very well that the 7 English speaking
crew members hardly knew any of the good people then in Grønhøj. Yet they
were friends due to the alliance between our countries. In my view this
impersonal element makes their sacrifice greater. You may risk a lot for the
ones closest to you, but for people you do not know personally
I believe that you cannot have served as a
soldier or an airman during World War 2 without having realized how
dangerous the task really was. Every time they took off they must have had
the unpleasant consciousness that they might fail to return safely. Yet they
did what they had to do because they found it important to fight the
In our time we rather talk about calculation
of risk than of courage of heroes. We are so used to everything being
governed and controlled. Maybe we are entering
We will remember them.
Thank you for your attention.
A Soldiers's Prayer:
O Lord, be near to us who serve in the defence.
Bless our work for peace and justice, against disruption and injustice, and cruelty and violence. Strengthen our companionship and unity, and save us from letting each other down in distress and danger.
Be with those who have to lead and command, give them vision and decisiveness and care for people they are in charge of.
We thank you God for our country, our family and friends, and all who are fond of us.
O Lord, we ask you:
Save us and those nearest to us from illness and all evil. Be with us when we are threatened and are anxious for our lives and health.
We ask for that in the name of Jesus Christ.