….. For your tomorrow, we gave our today …..
Six reflections on what Remembrance means to me, in this 100th Year since the Declaration of Armistice in November 1918.
For their yesterday …
Lest we forget – Yesterday I felt immensely proud to wear my Scout Leader uniform and be a part of the Remembrance Parade in my small home town of Shefford, Bedfordshire. There are many air force / military personnel living in the area, so it is always an extra poignant and very well attended service. I’ve been volunteering with Scouts on and off since my 20’s. Seeing the young boys (and girls) grow in confidence, maturity and self-esteem during their time as a cub scout is so rewarding, and they always do us so proud at this most solemn community event of the year. These children are our future; the very reason we must ensure that the lives of those young men that were taken away too soon, were not given in vain.
Lest we forget – 100 years is a long time. The world today is a different place and time can dim the horrors that faced the millions who died in action or returned to suffer lifelong psychological trauma. When we can connect with an individual – someone close to us, who’s life lost may have changed the course of history – it feels more real. My family is immensely proud of Private Wilfrid Kenworthy, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, who was killed in action in France in April 1917, aged 28. My late father-in-law was named after him 11 years later. We all have a personal hero, whose sacrifice will forever touch our heart and guide our will.
We have our today …
Lest we forget – In September, I went to see the English National Ballet perform at Sadler’s Wells with my dear friend Gail. The show, Lest we Forget, was choreographed to mark 100 years since the end of WWI. The triptych of three contemporary dances cleverly interwove the story of young soldiers heading off to the battlefield with the lives of munitions factory workers on the home front. It was an ethereal, dynamic and emotional work of art, and a special evening with a special friend. We owe it those who gave their lives to live every moment, cherish every friendship and make space to live for today, no matter our busy lives.
Lest we forget – As war ends and victory is declared, it’s all to easy to demonise the image of the ‘enemy’. Whichever side of the line; many innocent lives are impacted. Save the Children was founded in the wake of WWI, to bring aid to the millions of innocent children facing starvation, sickness and death due to ongoing allied supply blockades. 100 years later, we must not forget that the world is not all at peace. 1 in 6 children still live in conflict zones; facing the horrors of war on a daily basis. Killing, maiming, fighting and denial of basic human rights such as access to humanitarian aid and an education. We owe it to those who have lost their lives through war, to be bold and courageous and take a stand to ensure children are not casualties of the battlefield.
To build our tomorrow …
Lest we forget – Save the Children will soon enter its Centenary year. It won’t be a moment to say ‘Happy Birthday’; there is still much important work to do. The anniversary will be marked with the launch of a global campaign to protect children in conflict. By engaging the public with this cause, we want to ensure school children are kept safe, arms are not sold where they may be used in assaults on children, hold perpetrators of atrocities towards children to account and help young victims recover from the physical and psychological traumas inflicted by war. It may be impossible to end all war, but we must not forget to continue that fight for a better tomorrow.
Lest we forget – PULSE has given me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give my today, to help create a better tomorrow. As a I stood at the local war memorial, proudly watching over the young cub scouts in my charge, I felt a lump in my throat for all those children who don’t have the opportunity to remember and silently promised to extend my gift as far and wide as I am able. While a soldier may make the ultimate sacrifice; we can all sacrifice something to make the world a more peaceful place; and one where every last child has the opportunity to achieve their potential.
100 years since Armistice Day and 100 years of Save the Children
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