Monday, November 10, 2008
REMEMBRANCE DAY - TUESDAY 11 NOVEMBER
Yesterday I attended the Remembrance Sunday Service in Elstow Abbey and the wreath laying ceremony at the Elstow Bunyan Christian Fellowship, followed by a lunch with members of the Wilstead Branch of the Royal British Legion.
Tomorrow is Remembrance Day and the 90th Anniversary of the 1918 Armistice. At 11am there will be a 2 minute silence in the County Council and offices across the UK. A special service will take place at the National Memorial Arboretum, 150 acres of trees and memorials devoted to the concept of Remembrance in the heart of England.
The Arboretum is in the National Forest of Staffordshire at Alrewas, where my younger daughter Helen lives with her 2 small children. Jessica, aged 6, was thrilled to be chosen to take part in the Alrewas Remembrance Sunday Service.
The Arboretum is the home of the Armed Forces Memorial, opened in October 2007. It is a striking and emotive Memorial giving recognition and thanks for those who have died whilst on duty or as a result of terrorist action since the Second World War and acknowledges the enduring sacrifice of those who mourn the loss.
A few years ago I visited Ypres in Flanders, Belgium to view the notorious trenches where thousands of Britons and Europeans died during the First World War. Sadly many died of disease and on one day alone 23,000 men died - a terrible waste of young life. Red poppies grow profusely in Flanders as in the photograph above and the poppy was chosen as our annual Remembrance symbol.
In May 2006 I visited Washington DC during their Veterans' Weekend and was struck by the large numbers of young families who came from all over America to remember the sacrifices of thousands of Americans who have died in several wars.
A few years ago, Remembrance Sunday had little appeal for the young in the UK, but in recent years it has enjoyed a revival, mainly because of the sad deaths of so many young servicemen and women in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and in Northern Ireland.