Lest we Forget

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Unknown Warrior (Image via Wikipedia)

First of all, apologies that its taken me this long to post something today, thanks to some pretty unpleasant stuff (but dont worry, everythings ok).

I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone who visits my blog how important the 11th of November is. The day took on a special resonance when on 11 November 1918, the guns fell silent at 11am, ending the First World War on the Western Front. Since then 11am, on the 11th day of the 11th month has been a time to remember the men and women who died during the First World War, the Second World War, and all wars since.

90 years ago today the Cenotaph was erected in Whitehall, and has been the setting for national commemoration ever since. Also in 1920 the Unknown Warrior was buried in Westminster Abbey, in a state funeral attended by Royals, Field Marshals and Generals alike. The concept of remembering a completely unknown soldier was completely new, but captured the imagination of the country – the idea that ALL war dead should be remembered, regardless of who they are. The unknown warrior represents all of his comrades.

Of course on a day like today we remember the more than 5,000 men and women from Portsmouth who died during the First World War, the 2,549 who died during the Second World War, and the men who were killed during wars in Korea, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

But most of all… don’t just remember them for a couple of minutes on one day each year. Remember them every day. Because thats the gap that their loss left in the lives of their family and friends.

For anyone local, the annual Remembrance Sunday Service in Guildhall Square in Portsmouth starts this Sunday at 10.30am. Hope to see you there.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Lest we Forget

  1. Bravo, James, very well said!
    I fly an American flag every day for our American vets, living and dead. I also used to have smaller copies of the Union Jack and Maple Leaf flying, but my Union Jack was damaged in a storm – I’m in the process of re-fitting the pole with a new Union Jack, and am trying to find a new Maple Leaf. They will remain up until there are no more vets alive, or I draw my last breath. I flew a flag before 11 September, when it became fashionable in the States. Today, in my town, there are 3 flags flying – the Post Office, a family whose father and uncle are Korean War vets, and myself. It takes so little time, and (except for replacing damaged flags) costs nothing. If you don’t have a house where you can put a post, hang a flag in a window, or put a sticker on your car, or something. Our veterans put aside their lives to defend our freedoms. Some never had the chance to take their lives back. Honour them EVERY day – it truly is the least you can do.
    And for you numerologists, next year will be intriguing – Armistice/Veteran’s Day ceremonies will be on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year. Who knows – maybe that magic number will convince governments around the world to make peace. I doubt it, but what a beautiful dream to dream!

    • And to show you all I’m not a self-absorbed little Yank, my 50-star flag is sharing my porch with friends. Beside it is its’ 48-star father that flew during WW1, WW2, and Korea. Further down is the Canadian Red Ensign, for our Northern friends. To its’ other side is the Polish eagle, to remember all those lost in all theatres during Poland’s long and bloody occupation by the Germans. And a small Union Jack, not sufficient for daily display, but out there today. I am in the market for a few other flags, as well, but money is tight, so I can only say a silent prayer for our Anzac cousins. And a hope that all soldiers, in all countries, may return home, soon and safe.

  2. Visit Soldier’s Mail and take a rollicking World War I adventure along with a young New England doughboy on the front lines from the hot sands along the Rio Grande to the cold mud along the Meuse.

  3. And to show that “Lest We Forget” does have an impact dating back 65 years, here is an interesting link:
    http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=14057
    The US Air Force is bringing home one Capt. George W. Grismore of Salt Lake City, Utah. who died in a C-47 crash on March 12, 1945, in the Philippines. All of the US armed forces continue to search the globe to identify and retrieve the remains of all those listed as missing in action. They continue to do this regardless of time and effort. Bravo!

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