Remembrance Sunday

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

On this Remembrance Sunday I wanted to blog today to say thank you, thank you to all those who risk (and have risked) their lives on a daily basis in the name of peace.

Different conflicts demand different approaches. Sometimes it takes strength to back down and compromise. Sometimes one cannot compromise, and it takes strength to take up arms, and sometimes one needs to find a way to lay them down again and that, too, can be hard. However, such is the nature of human beings that it seems we will always be fighting and compromising and negotiating and demanding and discriminating and hating and loving and supporting and tearing down.

We are emotional beings. Both hatred and love come easily to us. On a personal level then, conflict is inevitable somewhere down the long road through the journey of our lives. We disagree with our loved ones, our friends, our employers, our co-workers, customers, acquaintances and complete strangers. We have our likes, our dislikes, things that please us, things that anger us. The trick is to know what is important, with any of it. What is worth upholding our principles for and what is worth letting go. Sometimes the letting go is harder to do.

I also want to say thank you to anyone who has supported a friend recently too. Friends are a network we rely on, the people who support us when we have been in conflict, armed or otherwise. Some of my friends and family have been in their own personal conflicts and I have tried to be there for them, knowing only too well that it is a hard thing to do to watch someone you love suffer and to be that rock that their personal waves need to break over. Remember that sometimes, too, the smallest gesture is often the most important.

To those who stand to protect what they believe in, to those who negotiate and compromise in the name of peace, to those who help the victims of conflict, not to mention those who stand fast at home and keep the home fires burning, as the old phrase goes, you are owed many, many a heartfelt thank you.

In this last year we have seen dictatorships overthrown and terrorism raising its ugly head once more. Our troops  are still overseas and more war dead are flown home. We have seen the town of Wootton Bassett given royal status after its citizens turned out on a regular basis to honour those British soldiers whose bodies were repatriated via the airfield nearby; just ordinary people standing in tribute to the sacrifice of those who are making their final journey home. Ordinary people doing something because they feel it is the right thing to do. I say thank you for that too.

My books, as you probably know, have a WW2 theme. They have given me the chance to contribute to the memory of those men who fell in the line of duty and those who made it back damaged, but alive. Due to those books, I have been able to contribute a little to the Help the Heroes fund as well as a deserved contribution to the long-overdue memorial for Bomber Command that I hope to see unveiled next year.  If you want to contribute, then go to Help for Heroes website and find out what they do (link below) and the Bomber Command website too, if you feel inclined.

One thing I would add. If you disagree with our soldiers fighting abroad, then please get angry with the government, not with our armed forces. Make your opinion known by all means, but aim it at the right people. I am sick of hearing people complain and disrespect the soldiers and airmen and sailors when it is not their fault where they are sent and what orders they are given. They signed on the dotted line to lay down their lives of necessary in defense of this realm of ours. Would you do the same?

Wear your poppy with pride and remember our war dead, remember their sacrifice as an impossible-to-repay gift. A man none of you may have heard of (I certainly hadn’t), John Maxwell Edmonds (1875 – 1958), an English Classicist, is credited for having written a famous epitaph in the allied war cemetery in Kohima. In 1944 during World War II the Battle of Kohima along with the simultaneous Battle of Imphal, was apparently the turning point in the Burma Campaign. These words will sign off my blog on this Remembrance Sunday more eloquently than I can.

” When you go home, tell them of us and say, for their tomorrow, we gave our today. ”

Lest we forget.

Thank you.

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