Lest we for­get

Nottingham Post - - FRONT PAGE - By ANDY SMART news­desk@not­ting­ham­post.com

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.

PIC­TURE: JOSEPH RAYNOR

Royal Navy vet­eran Vic­tor Chanter, 97, at the Vic­to­ria Em­bank­ment war me­mo­rial.

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