Re­mem­brance is a les­son for the fu­ture

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR VIEWS -

There has been na­tional de­bate this week af­ter a lead­ing au­thor sug­gested it was time this coun­try stopped its Re­mem­brance pa­rades. Au­thor Si­mon Jenk­ins says the time has come to scrap the day and stop ‘wal­low­ing in the past’. His views sparked de­bate and at­tracted much crit­i­cism. How ironic that the free speech en­joyed by Mr Jenk­ins was one of the things that those who fell in the world wars and other con­flicts died to pro­tect. As a jour­nal­ist I ab­so­lutely de­fend his right to have an opin­ion and ex­press it, but when I ac­com­pany my dad to a church memo­rial this week­end and help him place a small wooden cross in mem­ory of his older brother - Pte Ge­orge Ed­wards KOYLI - who was killed in Nor­mandy eight days af­ter D-Day, I will be re­minded again why Mr Jenk­ins is wrong. My dad is in his 80s. He is the youngest of ten chil­dren and was an evac­uee. He talks fondly of Ge­orge - the el­dest of his sib­lings - and we have vis­ited the ceme­tery in Tilly Sur Seulles where he is buried. Most poignant are the mem­o­ries of Ge­orge’s last visit home... the tales of how he took the lo­cal chil­dren for a ride in a bren gun car­rier and the most dif­fi­cult mem­o­ries of the mo­ment my grand­mother opened the tele­gram that con­tained the worst pos­si­ble news. We live in a priv­i­leged time. Our young­sters live in a dif­fer­ent - often vir­tual world. But I be­lieve the times my dad lived through and the lessons those gen­er­a­tions carry, have had an im­pact on my chil­dren and their cousins. I have a nephew who is a Sea Cadet and he will be very busy this week­end play­ing with the cadet band at pa­rades and cer­e­monies across the re­gion. He has lis­tened to those sto­ries and he un­der­stands the sac­ri­fices that have been made by our ser­vice per­son­nel in the past and those that will be made in the fu­ture. I be­lieve the Poppy Ap­peal and our Re­mem­brance pa­rades and ser­vices are as rel­e­vant to­day as they have ever been. It is not about wal­low­ing it is about pass­ing on the mes­sage of re­spect and sac­ri­fice. It is about teach­ing new gen­er­a­tions about events that they can barely com­pre­hend in to­day’s world and there­fore teach­ing them to trea­sure what we have now and to play their part in mak­ing the world a bet­ter place.

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