James Grundy MP: We must never forget their sacrifice
It will have been a welcome relief for those who attended Remembrance Sunday this year that services and parades were able to be held without the Covid restrictions that severely limited the events of last year.
It is important that we remember those who have fallen or been injured in service to their country, and it was heartening to see the massive turnout of local residents at the events I attended, keen to make up for their enforced absence last year.
I was proud to attend the Cenotaph at Atherton in the morning, and Golborne in the afternoon, with a representative of my office laying a wreath at Leigh on my behalf. At all events there was a massive turnout from local residents, determined to commemorate the sacrifices of our brave servicemen and women over the years.
We must never forget that we are only a free country because they were willing to fight and die to ensure that we remained so in the major conflicts of the 20th century.
It is all too easy to forget that within the lifetime of our older citizens, many other free nations in Europe fell under the jackboot of foreign tyrants, and had puppet regimes installed to rule them against their will.
A combination of grit, doggedness and luck prevented us from suffering the same fate, but the monuments at which we lay our poppy wreaths remind us of the terrible cost our brave Armed Forces paid to secure those victories.
There are no longer any living veterans of World War One, and the remaining veterans of World War Two are sadly growing increasingly few with the march of time.
There is a very real danger that the remaining veterans of World War Two will pass into history without their voices being recorded for future generations to hear and understand.
I hope that the archives in the borough will seek out our remaining World War Two veterans and ask them to come forward to have their experiences and memories recorded for posterity before they are lost to us forever.
It is vitally important that our young people in the borough are able to hear the voices of these living witnesses, both of great heroism, and of terrible loss, just as we did, before they pass into antiquity, potentially lost between the pages of history.
It is heartening to see that the general public still holds both our veterans and serving military personnel in high regard, and that our armed forces are still held in high esteem around the world.
The British military has been an overwhelming force for good in the world, both in the conflicts of the 20th century, and in those of today.
Our newer veterans, who have served our country bravely in the Falklands, both Iraq wars, and in Afghanistan, will in just a few years become the only veterans we are able to meet in person.
Their experiences must be recorded as well, so that future generations will know of their honour, loyalty and valour.
We must never forget their sacrifice, and the good that they did, and do.
We shall remember those that are gone, but we must also ensure those veterans that are still with us are remembered.
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