It's that time of year again. The time when poppies are in the shops (ours are on the main serving counter in front of the cards if anyone wants one). A time for us all to remember; not only those brave men and women that fought in the 1st and 2nd world war; during 1982 and the Falklands conflict, or the 1991 Gulf war (and many more in between), but also our brave military personnel deployed overseas fighting on distant shores as I type.
Yes I blogged about Remembrance Day last year; I will be blogging about it this year (as you're reading now). I will continue to blog about it for as long as the shop is running and I am in charge of it. Whether we agree with our troops being stationed overseas; whether we think they should be home protecting our own shores; whether you think it's "out of sight, so out of mind" remember these brave men and women are fighting on our behalf. They're fighting so that we can remain free to have our own voices; our own ideas and opinions. If it wasn't for those brave souls that have fought (and died) in wars fighting for us our freedom, or those currently deployed we could be living in a country of tyranny; a country where having a difference of opinion could get you shot; or thrown into a rat infested prison cell for the rest of your lives. It was their sacrifices that gave us what we have now.
I am sure some of you believe that we might have better off had we not won the wars; but we did win them. We won them with great sacrifice and massive loss of life. Those souls gave their lives for us to have the freedom to question whether we are better off or not. How can we repay them? By wearing our poppy with pride of course. By educating our children and future generations about why we have poppies to wear in the first place. Our children lead charmed lives in this day and age, because of their forefathers sacrifice. They (and all of us) should be reminded of this.
"Lest we forget" is the slogan used by the Royal British Legion on their remembrance day advertising; and so true. We must never forget how our brave troops are dying and being maimed for us to have our freedom. We must never forget that without them our world would be so different. These veterans; their families and all future vets deserve our respect; so pop into a shop, pop a pound or 2 (less if you can't afford it; more if you can) into the poppy collection tins, and Wear your poppy with pride.
I am lucky enough to be traveling over to France exactly a fortnight from today, to visit Dunkerque; the Normandy beaches, The Somme and many places in between. I will be there for the week before Remembrance Sunday (I come home on the Sunday itself). While there I will visit the cemetery where my great uncle Frank is laid to rest. He was 18 when he was killed in the first world war. He lied about his age to enlist; this deception cost him his life. I will be wearing my poppy with pride the whole time I am there. I hope back here you will be wearing yours too.