SACRIFICE REMAINS CONSTANT
ON November 10, 1917, the Third Battle of Ypres was over. It was so terrible that it grew to symbolise the true horror of the First World War and became synonymous with the village where it ended – Passchendaele.
Many of the young men who fought at Passchendaele enlisted in 1914 in response to Lord Kitchener’s famous recruitment poster. They were family and friends and often came from the same towns and villages.
They joined up, trained, fought and often died together. In total 750,000 men from the UK died in the Great War. This scale of loss affected everyone and meant that out of the 16,000 village communities in England at that time, no more than 32 of them were untouched by loss.
These later became known as the Thankful Villages.
In the 100 years since the war’s savagery the world has changed in innumerable ways.
Many advances that caused this change have made the mechanics of war more efficient and brutal. But sacrifice and service remain a constant.
The act of remembrance is an opportunity to be mindful of the present. For this reason I laid a wreath at the Cenotaph yesterday and today will be doing the same at my local cenotaph in Barnsley.
Commemorating, remembering the past, respecting the present, and working toward a better and more peaceful future.