DR John Sentamu has called upon the people of Yorkshire to remember their debt to our soldiers fighting in Helmand Province, and urged the public to support them and their families during the testing times ahead.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post from his home at Bishopthorpe Palace, the Archbishop of York cited his own experience of struggling to come to terms with the deaths under Idi Amin in his native Uganda.
“When I was in Amin’s troubles, I used to think to myself, why did I survive and some of my friend’s did not? But you cannot ask yourself why. Instead we should ask, how do we live now?
“What can we do as a nation to support the families and make sure our brothers are honoured and their memories not forgotten.”
Dr Sentamu also warned of the destructive power of the insurgency our troops are facing in Helmand Province.
“The enemy is the enemy and we are dealing with people that have no fear for themselves and no respect for life,” he said. “If people put bombs around themselves and blow themselves up, then they have rejected life.”
The Archbishop said he wants to meet the bereaved families of the soldiers killed in the coming weeks.
“To the families I’d say we’ve been praying for that regiment every day here in the chapel and so our prayers will continue to be with you and we want to pray that when the bodies are brought back to this country for burial, we will surround you with the kind of love which only Yorkshire knows,” he added.
“These young soldiers were the best – they were brave, they were tough, they knew what they were doing and they were prepared to offer the final sacrifice so I don’t want to take away anything from them with any kind of language which seems to suggest that they were not actually doing a very important, professional job.”
The Archbishop on free trade: Section 1, Page 18: Saturday Essay.