This Sunday, come rain or shine, the British people, young and old, left and right will gather together at War Memorials up and down the country to honour those who have sacrificed their lives in the service of their country.
Shortly after 11am the fourth stanza of a poem written by Laurence Binyon in September 1914 will conclude the Act of Remembrance and we shall return to our daily lives for another year:
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.
Ever since I was a boy, younger even than my own boys are now, I have attended the Remembrance service and over the years I’ve come to know the words by heart. But since I returned from Afghanistan in September 2012 I have been guided by a different poem and a different purpose:
When you go home tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow we gave our today
It was these words that were used to conclude vigil services held to honour fallen comrades in Afghanistan. For those of us who were there and who have now safely returned home they are not just words but a lifelong obligation.
Friday, 27 April 2012:
Guardsman Michael Roland
Wednesday, 13 June 2012:
Lance Corporal James Ashworth
Friday, 17 August 2012:
Guardsman Jamie Shadrake
Friday, 7 September 2012:
Guardsman Karl Whittle
Sunday, 9 September 2012:
Sergeant Lee Paul Davidson
Friday, 14 September 2012:
Lance Corporal Duane Groom