Remember remember … remember remember … the 5 th of November. Such popular saying. Regarding the day when we set off an obscene amount of fireworks and stand in the freezing cold going oooh, ahhh, eee, or maybe even oww if your lighting them or the bonfires and get it wrong …
However, I think we should change the Remember Remember saying to Remember Remember the 11th of November.
The 11th of November is Armistice Day. Remembrance Day. And the Sunday nearest to that is Remembrance Sunday. And as I sit writing this blog, it is the end of the day that has been Remembrance Sunday. The 11th has been and gone, and now has the Sunday too.
Every year I write a blog around this time, mostly on the day, or very soon after. Obviously this year its shortly after. Why do I feel so compelled always to try and put some words into a post, and attempt to pretend I know what I am talking about?
I am a huge advocate in Remembrance Day. A huge advocate of poppy wearing. A huge advocate of red poppies. A huge advocate of people taking time to think about and remember the cost the people who have gone before have paid.
As I have written before and always write and say … this is not about politics. Politics are for another day. The other 364 days that there are in a year, and which are used very well by al sorts of people to debate/discuss/agree and disagree with war. Politics are for those days. Not for the 11th of November. Regardless of what religion you are, regardless of what culture you come from, what your identity is, who you are, and what you believe in.
you can find my previous blogs on this topics at please remember them and thank you which talk a little bit more about why this is important to me, and some of my experiences of working with the elderly around this time.
You dont have to agree with someone or something to show some respect for the loss of something very important. And to me, in this case, on Remembrance Day that loss is the loss of life. All loss of life that has happened due to war.
The past few years I have had the privilige of being able to go and mark the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in town, by the local memorial with local people and local men and woman who have fought in past past wars and men and woman who are currently in services and spend their lives in conflict now. Its always very emotional, and poignant.
This year I had to work, however had the huge honour of ensuring all the people I care for who were unable to get a Poppy had one if they wished. It was an honour to lead staff into gathering all together with some of the people we look after, and observe the 2 minute silence. Let me tell you, it was humbling to stand in the midst of a very busy unit, with 20 or so members of staff, nurses, carers, domestic staff, chefs/cooks and of course our elderly patients and see/hear it fall silent as the chimes of Big Ben (we used the TV as our guide) chimed.
I always get teary eyed.
Why? Because to me, loss of life is sad. The loss of soldiers lives is sad. The loss of children caught up in zones they didnt want be caught up in is sad. The every day man and woman going about their business when their God calls them home. That is sad. It is sad that children are growing up without their parents, and that could have easily been me (both my parents served in the forces). Children are growing up without a mother, a father, a brother, a sister. It is sad that a father and mother bury their own children. It sad that wives lose the person they thought they would grow old with. It is sad that healthy, normal everyday people with a job to do, go and do that job and take huge risk and pay the ultimate price. It is sad that someone can kiss their beloveds goodbye in the morning, and never again return to their home. It is sad that all of the above applies to people/families in the military, but also to the civilians in their villages/towns and cities.
To me , whether or not I agree with war or not it is all sad.
And those people who have died, solder or not deserve our thoughts. Our respect.
I could write and write on the effects these tragic events have had on our history. And how it effects each and every one of us right now. And that in many ways, especially previous wars their loss has been to our advantage. For those people who have died gave their todays for our tomorrows. And personally I am thankful for that.
That is why I proudly wear a poppy. A red one.In memory of those dead, those who are dying and those who are still caught up in the midst. In memory of the people I have known and not known.
Because the poppy is a symbol, of the blood that has been shed. Then, and now.
It is not and should not be a political statement. Wearing a red poppy is not saying I agree with war. It isnt saying I dont.
It is saying that I am remembering and going to remember those lives lost and the cost they paid.
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.