We have an obligation to remember them

ON Sunday, November 13, Remembrance Sunday, I shall, as Mayor of Alnwick, have the honour of laying a wreath at the War Memorial on behalf of the people of Alnwick.

Each of us will have our own memories. There were casualties in my own family in both the First World War and Second World War, and throughout my life there has not been a generation that has escaped war or what is euphemistically described as “conflict.”

Whether we are moved by the graphic war poems of the First World War or the even more graphic video footage from such places as Afghanistan we cannot but be aware of the sacrifices of the men and women of our Armed Services.

They are all truly heroes and this places upon us all, in my view, an obligation to remember their sacrifice and the sacrifice made by their families.

We can best express our obligations by our continued support of the Royal British Legion who, rightfully, describe themselves as “the nation’s custodians of Remembrance Sunday.”

The Royal British Legion do not need me to put their case as they are so eloquently able to do that themselves but it is a significant fact that half of the people now helped by the Royal British Legion are below retirement age and that their current care bill comes in at a staggering £1.4million pounds a week.

We can now perhaps see the connection between an organisation founded in 1921 and stories in our media involving IEDs and Taliban ambush. Those same stories reflect sheer courage as well as an inspirational determination to overcome immeasurable difficulties by our injured members of the armed forces.

While we will be at the War Memorial on Sunday, there will be a service there on Friday, organised by the Royal British Legion, for the pupils from the schools of Alnwick.

Members of the Legion will also be in schools this week explaining the significance of what Remembrance Sunday stands for. This is important work and should guarantee that generation after generation of people can truly say: “We will remember them.”

Alan Symmonds,

Mayor of Alnwick