Sunday, 10 November 2013

remembering

Today is Remembrance Sunday.


I've been thinking of saying something, but what to say?

My Facebook feed is awash with poppies and quotes like "When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"  There are pictures of people's children in Remembrance Day parades, wearing their scouting/guiding/boys or girls brigade uniforms.

Remembrance Day is held annually on 11th November, and it has been since 1919.  It started off as a day of remembrance for those who died during The Great War, which later became known as World War I.  It is held on November 11th because that is the date that hostilities ceased in 1918.  We also keep Remembrance Sunday, because that lets it link in with Church Services, and people not working.

We were listening to the radio at 11 o'clock this morning.  I was drawing with the girls, Kenny was on his computer, and the boy was playing Minecraft (because you can never play too much Minecraft).  The radio played the bongs for 11 o'clock, and silence fell.  We asked the children to respect the silence.  They tried.

It wasn't easy for them, and no wonder.  We hadn't warned them about it.  Afterward we stopped what we were doing and tried to explain that we stop and observe silence to remember those that have died to keep us safe.  I told them that it had started to remember the dead from wars long ago, but that we also thought about those who had died recently, and indeed those who risk their lives to keep us safe now.

Anyone's opinion about what the armed forces ought to be involved in, what countries they should and should not be in is irrelevant today.  The fact remains that people with the best of intentions work hard to try to ensure we can live the lives we like.  And they put their lives at risk to do it.

One of my good friends is in the RAF.  When she was stationed in Afghanistan, and I was worried about her I talked to the children about the way things were in Afghanistan under the Taliban, and how my friend was there to try to help make it safe for the people to be able to run their own country.  My children, quite rightly, thought she was a hero.  They sent her blueys to cheer up her office.  On her Facebook page today it says that 'Freedom is not Free'.  It chills me that it is not.

I wish that everyone in the world could be good to each other, and respectful and kind.  And that there would be lots of little fluffy bunnies.  But I am hugely grateful to all of those who have died trying to ensure that people like me get to live our lives without thinking about how to get rid of the bad guys.  I am also hugely grateful to all those who have not died.  Even to those who have not risked their lives, but have worked for the good of others.

Thank you.