Remembrance Sunday is almost upon us, but for me it’s not about politics, poppies or power.
It’s about people. Those who risked, and in too many cases, lost their lives to give us the lives we enjoy now.
Whatever your opinion about the reasons young men and women are placed into harms way, that should not diminish the huge debt we owe those who risk everything to keep us safe.
My late mum grew up in Occupied Holland during the Second World War, and had the hugest respect for the Allied troops that liberated Eindhoven. The Dutch still commemorate the ending of German rule each 5th of May: Bevrijdingsdag, Liberation Day.
It’s for her gratitude to these brave men that I always take a moment each year to give thanks to those who served, and currently serve, in the various Armed Forces. It’s not that I am pro-war, or politically motivated. Wars are fought by ordinary, yet extraordinary, men and women.
They face tremendous threats, see and experience things that are bound to leave an indelible imprint on them, are not always afforded the respect they are due from civilians, and often find it difficult to re-integrate into society when they end their military careers.
If you de-politicise Remembrance Sunday and put that notion firmly to one side, surely you can afford just one minute of your year to stop, pause and think about those who didn’t come back from a conflict, or did return only to start a new battle with their injuries (physical and mental).
It doesn’t have to be a public display, if you are uncomfortable with that, but a private sixty seconds of reflection is the least the millions who lost their lives on our behalf deserve.
Lest we forget.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.” Laurence Binyon