I’ve just returned home from the Remembrance Day service in Pembury village, where I laid a poppy wreath on behalf of Kent County Council. I arrived at St Peter’s Church very early, and didn’t want to walk in an interrupt the Parish Eucharist, so I waited outside with a Pembury member of the Burma Star veterans.
I won’t embarrass him by giving his name, or even the service he was in. But for thirty fascinating minutes he told me tales of the bravery of those young men who fought for their country, many of whom left home never to return. The twelve young friends he joined with who within a few short months were just six. The newly-married wife whose young husband was lost in action, who telephoned every day for news of his whereabouts.
It brought into sharp focus the reasons why we celebrate Remembrance Day, and I was delighted to see so many young people at today’s event. If they understood more clearly why we wear poppies at this time of year, they’ll learn to cherish the freedoms which these days so many take for granted.