Sunday, 10 November 2019

Remembrance Day

Later this morning, the Cenotaph in Westminster will be at the centre of the main, national Remembrance Day ceremony. At the same time, all around the country and in many other countries as well, smaller ceremonies will be taking place to remember the sacrifice made by previous generations.

As I get older, these ceremonies seem to hold great importance than they did when I was young, and it was a shock when I realised that this monument was thirty years old in the year that I was born, and will be one hundred years-old next year.

When I was a child, the parade that was held after the religious element of the ceremony was always led by the 'Old Contemptibles', survivors of the British Expeditionary Force that went to France in 1914. As I grew older and they died off, it was servicemen (and later women) who had served during the Second World War who formed the bulk of those in the parade. Now they too are a fast dying breed, and it is the survivors of more recent conflicts who will be parading past the Cenotaph today.

Today is the day when we will officially remember them all ... but it is important that we do not confine that remembrance to a single day. And in answer to those who ask if the sacrifice of previous generations was worth it, all I can say in reply is that whatever state the world is in now, you can be sure that it would have been far worse if those we remember today had not done what they did.

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