My earliest memory has to be when I was 10/11 sat with my mum, in Japan, with boxes of clear plastic wreaths, thousands of paper poppies and laminated circle stickers bearing logos of various armed forces, The Royal British Legion etc. etc. We would spend days popping the poppies into the pre-cut holes and making the iconic wreaths you see. We would go to a big ceremony every year and it was boring when you're that young. But I remember how proud I was to have helped make the wreaths and running through the neatly lined pristine white gravestones in the most immaculate graveyard you have ever been too –reading who had died. As I got older 15/16 I remember being freezing wearing a leotard and floaty skirt performing a group dance in Kirklington Church – in front of friends, family and local parishioners.
Then for while I'd kind of forgotten all about Remembrance Sunday – to be reminded if I was in a car at 11am for the 2 minute silence or when Moo asked for a £1 for a poppy at school. This year however was slightly different – Moo is a Beaver and specific church services are very important to them. Remembrance Sunday being one of them. However Olive's pre-school we're also involved in our village parade. (To clarify Moo goes to Beavers in another town). David took the girls (gutted I didn't get to see my girls lay the Pre-School wreath on the Memorial at West Moors. Megan showed me after and she was so proud.) and I went with Moo to St. Ives Church. The children were so well behaved and as the names of those who lost their lives from 1914 – present day were read out in the church, my eyes welled. As we prayed and then sang the national anthem a tear dropped – both with sadness and pride.
We just don't know how lucky we are.
It's so easy to think about war as something that doesn't affect us. Our lives are so different to those of men, women and children in the 1940's but yet 446 service men and woman have died in Afghanistan since the conflict began in 2001. We CANNOT forget those who have given and those who give daily their lives in order for ours to remain as it does.
War is not something that occurred long before I was born, it is here it is happening.
www.paradoxphotography.co.uk - photo credit
To wear a poppy with pride costs £1 and this money is so valued and utilised effectively by the Royal British Legion. On the 11th November at 11am a 2 minute silence is observed in remembrance. The Sunday closest to the 11th of November church services and memorials are held across the country – many for less than 1 hour. Next year take a moment out of your day to remember those who gave everything.
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.
(taken from Laurence Binyon's poem, "For the Fallen" )