Different responses to Remembrance Day

I was determined to go to the Remembrance Day service at the war memorial yesterday. It was a sort of tribute to my Dad who used to go every year.

As a child, I used to go with him. We would go to the 11am Mass and at about quarter to twelve, we would leave as we heard the paradge pass the church on its way to the memorial in the park. I used to be allowed to wear my Grandad’s medals. I found it all very exciting and grown-up.

Last year, Dad got up and went to the service. I thought about going with him like old times but decided on a lie-in instead. You see, when you don’t think you are going to lose somebody, there is always next year. Of course, regular readers know that died in September and I am ashamed that he attended his last Remembrance Day service alone.

I woke early yesterday and almost talked myself out of going. It would inevitably be upsetting as these things are but particularly so this year.

I went upstairs and woke the family and said that I thought we should go as a family. My daughter announced, “I’m going to do the 2 minute silence in bed”. Not the best of starts.

We all put on our poppies with the exception of my youngest son who threw a total fit. He did not want to go as it would make him sad. My husband set off with the other two children and we followed on behind after a ten minute discussion on why Remembrance Day was important.

We arrived and the service began. My youngest son was stropping right up to the silence when I prayed to my Dad that he would keep the silence. He did albeit with the odd head butt into my arm.

Part way through the silence a car blared out music and the assembled crowd tutted and shook their heads. Three teenagers pushed their way through the crowds keen to be on their way. My son was clearly unhappy and rather than upset the folks around us, we headed home just before the end of the service. I was cross and told my son so.

When we got home, I had a restorative cuppa and a thought popped into me head.

Just maybe, one of the freedoms the veterans fought for was the one to not mark Remembrance Day and to make our own choices.

Having said that, I am pleased that I made things up to my Dad this year.

My Dad was proud to serve his country in the Royal Navy during and after World War Two.

Here he is doing his training at H M S Royal Arthur otherwise known as Butlins Skegness.

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Poppy – #SnapHappyBritMums

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Will You Remember Them Next Week?

Today is Armistice Day and how wonderful to see so many bloggers and others paying tribute to service-people and ex-service people.

I watched ITV This Morning and the two former service-men who insisted on standing during the two minute silence. Although alone, I was moved by them to stand myself and pay proper respect. If two frail men can stand, I am sure I darned well can. I very nearly made the dogs stand up too but that would have meant breaking the silence. As I watched the silence on the television taking place all over the United Kingdom, I found myself very moved and tearful.

Of course, I was thinking of my grandad who was at Gallipoli in World War One and my own Dad who served in the Navy in World War Two. It was more than that though. I reflected how humanity is at its best when we join together with one purpose and support each other. That made me think how bloggers do that so much standing shoulder to shoulder online facing all manner of challenges in their lives. Bloggers also have their say and freedom of speech was surely something fought for in previous wars.

Too many of our Armed Forces don’t come home or return injured. Too many of our Armed Forces struggle to adapt to civilian life and yes some do end up homeless on the streets, in massive debt or find themselves amongst the prison population.

As for our elderly ex-service people, how many live alone and in isolation? Is that what they fought for? A society in the main who thinks about them just one day a year?

So my challenge to myself and to others who would like to take it is to remember every day of the year and to be proactive about it.

Could your Christmas shopping include items from

The Poppy Shop – A Beautiful range of Buckley and Kleshna jewellery, books, clothing and other great ideas? And every purchase helps the Legion support the Armed Forces family.
Visit www.poppyshop.org.uk

or you could

Order a poppy online via donation
Shop for insurance etc at Poppy Direct
Buy products from the Legion’s corporate supporters
Plant a virtual poppy
Become a volunteer with the Royal British Legion
Enter the Poppy Lottery

To find out more about how you can help and be helped check out http://britishlegion.org.uk

There are other charities who do good work with the Armed Forces, with ex-service people and their families. Why not check out the Do It website and see how you could make a difference with perhaps as little time as a hour a fortnight?

Finally, let’s remember the spouses and families of people who are in the Armed Forces. They do not make the choice but they do live with the consequences and sometimes pay a high price.

If you are a service-person, an ex-service person or a dependant of one of those and you are in need, do contact the British Legion for welfare support. There is help available, this is where the poppy money goes. The Legion website will tell you more but the message is that there is help available.

Will you remember them next week? Will I?

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