I always find Remembrance Sunday makes me quite reflective. It’s an event which I almost always attend.
My earliest memories are cold winter mornings, marching with the Boys Brigade. I was thinking about that on Sunday as I joined constituents at the Cross of Sacrifice service, organised by Friends of Brandwood End cemetery. I try to attend an event in a different part of the constituency each year.
Remembrance Sunday started in 1919 as a way of commemorating those who had fallen in the Great War.
It has expanded over the years and events now take place at local war memorials in towns and parishes all over the country. It’s attended by members of the Royal British Legion, other veterans’ organisations as well as reserve units, a host of youth organisations and the public.
At Brandwood Cemetery, there were proud parents and grandparents alongside Scouts, Cubs and Beavers from St Dunstan’s. I was reminded how much Remembrance Sunday is a binding event.
It can be a recognition of people killed long-ago in conflicts too many people know too little about but, as we learned when I worked with Swanshurst School to establish our Veterans Day, there are many who have been killed or injured in much more recent conflicts who also deserve recognition for the service they have given.
Our freedoms today are because of the sacrifice of so many others.
Remembrance Sunday might seem like a constant, in our lives, but it can also be a barometer of change.
This year Prince Charles was standing in for the Queen who hasn’t been well. Many of the veterans were represented by sons, daughters or grandchildren and our world today is very different from that in which the ceremony originated.
I don’t want to hark back to some mythical golden days because they weren’t always that good but the values of duty, service and respect are values much needed these days and remembrance is a binding occasion which brings generations and country together and recognises the ultimate sacrifice, in order that we may live our lives as we choose.