My thoughts when I stand at the Cenotaph
I doubt there is anyone who is not moved by Remembrance Day and there are few who don’t know someone or have a family member who has fought over the past century for our country.
Both of my grandfathers served in WW1 and my paternal grandfather was actually left for dead by the British army in no-mans land. He was picked up by the Germans who treated his injuries and held him as a prisoner of war.
Or the case of my father who signed up at the age of 20 in 1940 to fight against Nazi Germany – VE day was announced on his 25 birthday – over the 5 years he served he fought in North Africa, was part of the invasion force into Italy and was in the second group of soldiers to enter Belsen. He saw his childhood friend shot at his side and didn’t get home for nearly 2 years.
But despite everything he experienced and the suffering he saw, he would not talk about his time in the army or the war. He never watched a war film saying that to him they glorified something that should never be celebrated.
The 5 years he served left a lasting scar on his soul which time did not heal. When I stand at the Cenotaph I feel very privileged and use the time to remember both my grandfathers, my dad and all other servicemen and women to whom we owe so much.
Every year I feel humbled and thankful and every year I promise my father that I will never forget.