In the Great Glen of Scotland, there lies a long, meandering road. From Glasgow, it travels north into the Highlands, moving through the beautiful valleys of Glencoe, past Ben Nevis (Britain’s highest mountain), beyond mysterious Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle, then on to the ancient city of Inverness. Along the way, just north of the quaint village of Spean Bridge, is the Commando Memorial.
On a lonely hill stands a statue of three soldiers atop a large stone pedestal. The Memorial is dedicated to the Commandos, all volunteers, who died in World War II. A plaque proudly declares, This Country was their training ground. “This Country” is the beautiful but often harsh environment of the Highlands.
I stopped there some years ago on my way to the Isle of Skye. I’d never heard of the Commando Memorial but it looked like it might be interesting. At first there didn’t seem much to see…just one statue and, off to the side, a small garden. I looked up at the soldiers (it’s quite tall) and read the plaque. But then I noticed, etched deep into the top layer of the pedestal…UNITED WE CONQUER.
The words were separated as though each carried its own significance. United – joined in a common cause. We – specially trained troops. Conquer – overcome in victory. United We Conquer then becomes, specially trained troops bound in a common cause, we are victorious. But I noticed something else.
Cards and notes had been carefully placed around the stone platform that held the statue as well as throughout the garden. Many had old pictures of young men in uniform, many with newer ones of wives, children and grandchildren. As I stood there, people came – some with others, some alone – to add their own cards, notes and pictures. All were somber, some with tears.
Then it occurred to me. I was wrong about the WE. It wasn’t just the Commandos. It was also their families, friends and neighbors. It was all of Great Britain. And it wasn’t just about what they did yesterday, but about what they do today and will do tomorrow. The Memorial was not simply to remember the Commandos, but to remember who every Brit is now.
In his letters to those committed to follow Jesus, Paul called them to be a singular people, united in mind and thought (1 Corinthians 1:10), one in spirit and purpose (Philippians 2:2). And he told them, In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37-39).
Remember the Commando Memorial. Paul’s message is much the same and even more. United – joined through Christ. We – those who love Him. Conquer – overcome in victory. All – trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, physical harm, even death. UNITED WE CONQUER ALL.
Britain was saved by the freely given sacrifice of the Commandos. Today we look upon the three soldiers and remember their call. We are saved by the freely given sacrifice of Christ Jesus. Today we look upon the three expressions of one God and remember His call. Through Him we are victorious. Through Him…UNITED WE CONQUER ALL!
as seen in A Note of Encouragement