Please wear your poppy with pride on Armistice Day
It's Remembrance Day on November 11th, which happens to be my birthday too, so I'm not likely to forget what to me is an important occasion. There has been talk recently of this tribute falling into oblivion, given that survivors of World War 2 are growing very elderly. I very much hope that this will not be the case, and doubt that family and friends of dead and injured military will allow it to. On a purely personal basis, my father was a Desert Rat with the 8th Army and was badly injured in the forehead by shrapnel in North Africa. Although he survived physically he has been affected by it ever since. He is still going strong at 91 and considers himself very lucky. I also lost my Uncle Freddy, who was hit by a German submarine torpedo while serving on HMS Voltaire. He was only 19. Just a few months later, my Auntie Gladys was killed in Marks and Spencer in Eastbourne when it was hit by a bomb. The plane then turned round and strafed the survivors with machine gun fire. I never had the pleasure of knowing my father's siblings, and the effect on my grandparents must have been dreadful.
Many, many innocent people the world over have been affected by wars and have similar tales to tell. Will we ever know true peace?
If you would like to show support for British soldiers injured whilst serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, you can make a contribution to the worthwhile charity Help for Heroes. Here is a link to a fund raising site where my wonderful son-in-law Stuart Cooke and his friends recently completed the tortuous 3 Peaks Challenge. http://www.justgiving.com/3peakers2010
Within a 24 hour period, they climbed the highest mountains of Scotland, England and Wales. This time limit included sleeping and travelling from one mountain to the next. Apparently one of the worst aspects (apart from pouring rain on Mt. Snowdon and thick fog on Sca Fell Pike) was the rickety, uncomfortable and noisy minivan!
Sca Fell Pike
We will remember them.