Lest we forget
TOMORROW in the city, and across the towns and villages of Nottinghamshire, people will gather at memorials large and small to pay homage to the fallen.
Some will have a particular name to remember, a grandfather, great-uncle and beyond. For those with no-one special to honour, it will be a moment to bow their heads and say thank you.
A moment to express gratitude to the men and women who gave up their todays for our tomorrows.
It was John Mccrae, a Canadian doctor grieving for a lost friend, who saw poppies growing across the battlefield and was inspired to write his abiding poem In Flanders Fields … “If ye break faith with us who die; We shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields”.
His words gave birth to an international symbol of remembrance, adopted by the Royal British Legion in 1921. Tomorrow, blood-red poppies will flower once again, to be worn with pride and laid with respect.
On this centenary of the end of the “war to end all wars”, we will remember the 14,000 sons and daughters of Nottinghamshire who perished, the 880,000 British dead, and the many thousands from across the old Empire – and all those lost in conflicts since.
The statistics are staggering. The flower of British youth crushed, a generation lost in the cause of freedom.
Now is not the time to dissect the reasons. Now is the time purely to recognise their sacrifice. And we should also spare a thought for those who came home to a troubled country, some bearing the physical and mental scars that would never heal.
The veterans are all gone now yet we owe them so much. Tomorrow it is our obligation to show we care.
Royal Navy veteran Victor Chanter, 97, at the Victoria Embankment war memorial.