Remembrance Sunday

Today we remember.

We remember the bravery and endurance of the many who fought two long wars in the twentieth century.
We are grateful for their success, in ensuring our peace and freedom.
We mourn the loss of so many young lives.
We grieve at the injuries sustained and the hopes ruined in so many personal tragedies.

Out of the ashes of a burning Europe has emerged a number of peace loving democracies.
Out of the destruction of war has arisen a much more prosperous group of nations.

We owe it to them, to ourselves and to our children to see that by our current words and deeds we work for peace.
War is what happens when politics fails and diplomacy breaks down.
War is the result of nations intruding too far on other nations in disagreement and antagonism.
War may be the product of fear as well as of greed and hatred.

When wars end diplomacy and politics have to resume.
When wars end victors do sit down with vanquished.
When wars end both victors and vanquished need to rediscover the toleration and mutual respect of peace.

As I lay wreaths at War Memorials in my constituency I will remember.
I will remember the stories of how my family members fought and survived in those dangerous times.
I will think of all those families that might have been, dashed by the death of young men who never became fathers.
I will think of how in future we can learn from the tragic ways so many conflicts between nations, peoples and religions became bitter wars.

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29 Comments

  1. Posted November 8, 2015 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Action movies, killing and torture experienced vicariously. Actors acting out and pleasuring us for money. We love a good cry. Enjoy hurting.
    Best if we are angry with ourselves today, knowing what we have done, what we are.

  2. Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    We do indeed owe it to them, to ourselves and to our children to see that by our current words and deeds we work for peace.

    We need to do so rather more intelligently and efficiently if future. Superficial, short term reactions to childish emotions, local politics, self interests and irrational belief systems is not what is needed,. Unfortunately this is usually is what we get from governments.

    An intelligent analysis of how to practically achieve the best outcomes is required. Strong deterrents are always far better than wars.

  3. Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Well said, JR.

    Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day on Wednesday are for remembering the sacrifice of many brave souls in defence of liberty, democracy and our way of life.

    Following the 11th itself, we should perhaps remind ourselves that the freedoms our forebears fought for in two world wars are now under attack all over Europe. I refer in particular to the loss of freedom of speech and press in countries like Sweden and Germany, as well as in the UK, and the real threat to our way of life posed by mass migration of epic proportions across Europe.

    To this, we can add the inexorable diminution of what sovereignty we still enjoy as a nation after decades of EU membership, and the increasingly autocratic domination of the peoples of the EU by Frau Merkel and by the EU Commission.

    We can only hope that the Referendum results in us leaving the EU and embarking on a reinvigoration of our great nation and a restating of our traditional values and ideals – for which my late father flew in Spitfires and Hurricanes against the tyrannical forces of the then Luftwaffe.

    We will remember them.

  4. Posted November 8, 2015 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    And we must remember too that the tree of freedom needs to be watered with the blood of martyrs – even in 2015.

  5. Posted November 8, 2015 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    In my opinion, the real tragedy of Remembrance Sunday is that even as we remember the great sacrifices of the past, so much conflict is still going on all over the world.
    We owe so much to past generations, and that is so often forgotten. Freedom comes at a very high price. We should value it greatly.

  6. Posted November 8, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    The fools rise between wars…and we see plenty now.

    I have recently recovered black and white photo’s from the Western Desert campaign. My father was in 33 Sqdn RAF along Charing Cross through Egypt and Libya (to and fro you might say). I see the demeanour and faces of very young men laughing and smiling in these photo’s and that was against just one part of a huge and very maniacal force.

    Complete and utter madness that continues today. I am very thankful to the British Legion for their work and where government have failed. No adequate after plan… again!!

    Trump wants to lift the plight of the US vets…anybody here?

    O/T..it appears no enquiries are being kicked off regarding power out(s) last week. Usually a flush of them for just about anything?

  7. Posted November 8, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    We owed it to them to cherish and preserve their culture.

    We didn’t.

    Instead they were robbed and beaten (words left out ed) in their home towns until they stopped going out at night and are now neglected in care homes. The (criminals ed) somehow became the victims and so our law, behaviour, language and education was modified to suit them.

    The Left bang on about poverty but it is our war time pensioners who really know it.

    To the Left and the BBC it is the pensioners who are crippling the NHS and causing the housing crisis. The blue rinse brigade are held in quiet (and not so quiet) contempt. Their values and traditions are hated and a source of embarassment for the Conservatives.

    We did not create a properous west. We created a greedily indebted, financially and morally bankrupted one. A society that rewards and venerates everything that the war time generation loathes.

    I will hang my head in shame at the town memorial today.

  8. Posted November 8, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    A time for sorrow and remembrance indeed . Red poppies everywhere worn to show respect for all who gave lives . A time also to recall that Chilcot has let everyone down and should be publicly shamed .

    • Posted November 8, 2015 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      We must hope that Chilcot will enjoy redemption by the esteem in which his report is held, lauded (we can hope) for its thoroughness, fairness, and willingness to trenchantly lay blame without fear or favour.

  9. Posted November 8, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    It’s a pity our rulers didn’t study history. Dave and Gideon have decimated our armed forces. It was John Nott another useless being who was about to destroy the Navy when Argentina invaded the Falklands.
    Our obvious weakness since the end of the cold war plus the 5th column judiciary has emboldened our enemies.
    YES. WE will remember them. Will we ever LEARN???

    • Posted November 8, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      Gideon (as you put it) Osborne did, as it happens, study history (Modern @ Magdalen, Oxford). It seems he just did not understand very much of it – perhaps Oxford’s fault? Particularly not the economic history of bloated wasteful governments, over taxation, top down command economies, over regulation, free at the point of use “public service” organisations, open door immigration …….

  10. Posted November 8, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I confess I know little now about how our history is taught in our schools. I do know that in the 1960s I gained an understanding (in history lessons and through Shakespeare) of the key events that have shaped where we are today – Hastings, Magna Carta, Bannockburn, Agincourt, War of the Roses, the Armada, Culloden, American Independence, Trafalgar, Waterloo, WW1, WW2, the Battle of Britain. Not so much the detail but the significance; the acceptance that sometimes (sadly) you have to fight for what you believe in. Wars since like the Falklands, Bosnia, Iraq, Libya have been muddied by much political disagrement over what comes next that you could be forgiven for thinking that the whole lot were futile or at best pretty sub-optimal outcomes.

    I rather suspect that more pacifist-minded teachers leave many of our young people with a very idealistic view of the world and a scant record of our past and the sacrifices and steadfastness needed to build our reputation today. The “like, like, sort of, kinda like” young people of today seem to lack the self-confidence and assertiveness to call it as it is, to stand up for what they believe in, they may prefer to go along with their mates’ views rather than show individualistic flair, challenging the status quo or taking risks. This doesn’t bode well for our economic development or democracy.

    Today I shall remember how we got here and the ever-present threats to our democracy and future success.

  11. Posted November 8, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Just watched the remembrance service at the cenotaph and a always found it very moving. My brother was killed in the Falklands conflict so feel very proud but also very sad and concerned that there is still unrest out there and in so many other places in the world. If all wars could stop then what a different place the world would be and we should all strive for this.

    Our way of life and those of others in this world are under threat from those that wish us and them ill. May be always be able to call upon our brave service men and service women that have done us proud both today and in times gone by.

  12. Posted November 8, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Noticeable that some of the Royals are not too grand by laying their wreaths collectively at the Cenotaph but the politicians obviously are.

  13. Posted November 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    A day to think of others, who were at the time thinking our our future.

  14. Posted November 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    All those who “died to keep England free” – wasted their lives. Our govts, of both main parties, have welcomed in hundreds of thousands, all coming to enforce their culture on us, while being given our taxes. Their hate of us and our culture is hidden till they get here and are collecting all their “entitlements” for coming – for which they haven’t contributed a penny. Our govt is making us pay for our own destruction. I would say “shame on them” – but they clearly have none.

  15. Posted November 8, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Once again, as I see the PM at the cenotaph, I hope that he looks around at ALL the people there, and realises how great those people have made this country. And I hope he takes a moment to realise that the veterans have merely passed the baton to the younger generations, as we will pass the baton to the generations to come.

    And above all, I hope he realises that the representatives of the commonwealth nations who sacrificed so much for British interests are far better friends to us than the ones he appeases in the EU, who seek to do nothing but take from us and bring us down to their level.

  16. Posted November 8, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    How about this government providing housing and work for those that returned damaged!.
    I saw that it took ITV (The Big build) to house a few of them.
    Crocodile tears but little real help.

  17. Posted November 8, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    A lovely piece of blank verse.’ Burnt Norton’ comes to mind.

    Also remember by defence we also stopped much violence and we the children are Grateful for this; grateful for our peace in England and our lives of enough
    History Speaks and wreaks its grim warning when the Samaritan ‘u’ turns and the seeing man becomes unseen.

  18. Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    John just watching the BBC highlights from today Dimbleby has taken it upon himself to tell BLESMA that they should change their name, what is it about the BBC and its staffers that they think they have the right to lead the agenda by putting kinks into perfectly good chains.
    If he had done his research he would know that it is now BLESMA the limbless veterans.

  19. Posted November 8, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    At the risk of lowering the tone by making a political point, we should pour scorn and derision on (words left out ed) Jeremy Corbyn for his attack today on General Sir Nick Houghton, chief of the defence staff. Sir Nick commanded troops keeping the peace in Northern Ireland whilst Corbyn and other far left fanatics apologised for supported the objectives of IRA terrorists. Sir Nicholas made some very diplomatic comments suggesting – entirely logically – that there’s no point having a nuclear deterrent unless the Prime Minister in office is in theory prepared to use it in certain circumstances. Cue a hissy fit from contemptible Corbyn. On Rememberance Sunday we remember the sacrifice of servicemen and women who have died and we also pay tribute to current service personnel such as Sir Nick. We must also remind ourselves what a terrible threat it would be to the security and freedom of our Country if the likes of Messrs Corbyn McDonnell and Watson every get near political power.

    • Posted November 8, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      The edited words above were not intended to offend only to give an accurate description of statements and actions taken by Me Corbyn in the past in respect of the IRA and of certain Middle Eastern terrorist organisations.

    • Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      The business of government is to govern and it is a democratic process.

      The business of opposition is to shine a torch on the claims and principles on which the government get elected.

      The business of the armed forces is to follow the direction proscribed by the government.

      Corbyn is actually well within his rights to demand the armed forces stay clear of offering advice on the suitability of a democratically elected Prime Minister.

      You may agree with Houghton as might I but that is not how a democracy works

      • Posted November 9, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Of course the armed forces should not be political, but nobody listening to General Houghton’s interview can reasonably have said he was stating anything as to Corbyn’s suitability to be prime minister. He was simply making the logical point that unless in theory a nuclear deterrent could be used theres no point having it. it would be extraordinary if he or anyone else said anything differently! I note that Maria Eagle, Labour’s defence spokesman said after the interview that Houghton’s comments were quite reasonable. Corbyn needs to toughen up, he has put himself forward to be prime minister so he needs to address these questions, not just complain about people raising the issues.

  20. Posted November 8, 2015 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    I am surprised by Jeremy Corbyns comments. Surely the generals comments (which merely state the obvious) is an example of the new politics he seems To favour. The Labour Party seem all too ready to listen to the doctors when they seek to intervene with political points. What is the difference?

  21. Posted November 9, 2015 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    Thank you. A beautifully written piece.

    I find Remembrance Sunday a bitter time at present. I feel that our forebears died to preserve our freedom, and self determination. But our governments have systematically given away that freedom, in exchange for a seat at the (dinner) table, and an 8% vote on a few trade rules.

    I wonder what some of our leaders are thinking as they lay their wreaths. Sorry to offer a negative note.

  22. Posted November 9, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    As usual on Remembrance Sunday, I went to the parish church as one of the ringers to ring the half-muffled bells before the service at the War Memorial outside. A rather mournful sound, totally fitting for the occasion. Then a quick dash down the tower to get out and join the Service just in time for the “Last Post”.
    As I stood there I thought about two things. Firstly, what a mess our governments have made of this country since WW2; was this what our Service men and women fought for? Did our soldiers over the centuries since Agincourt, fight France, Spain, Germany and Italy only now to surrender to those countries by belonging to the EU.
    And secondly, who do we have who could inspire and lead this country in the event of a war or other major disaster? I couldn’t think of any politician today whom we would all trust and whom could inspire us as Churchill did.
    We may have lost our Empire, but, as a country, we also appear to have totally lost all confidence in ourselves.

  23. Posted November 14, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Interesting to see how Barrow-in-Furness would fare if the new Trident system is cancelled. Finished for sure is the short answer. Or for that matter the rest of the country being deprived of the work and money this would bring to a large number of people.
    Would the money saved be put to better use in the armed forces or in society in general? No it would not and you all know it. Not that I am arguing this as case for Trident. It just shows what you are dealing with. Tax cuts for the rich is a good idea for the money saved? Do tell us why, because it is their money?! Cap doffing supporters of wilful financial ignorance and the financial aristocracy.

    Reply My policy advice is tax rates the rich will stay and pay, as we need more money from them.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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