On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, a small crowd gathered at Cheltenham’s war memorial. The striking red of the poppy wreaths and mayor’s robes contrasted with the grey skies above. As silence fell, the rain reflected the leaves above onto the pavement, a backdrop to those already fallen. The notes of The Last Post pierced through the air and the crowd acknowledged: “We will remember them.”
Inscribed on the war memorial: “If they were strangers to one another here in their common home, they served and wrought and died in many lands near and far as a Band of Brothers.”
In October, I went to the Tower of London to see the amazing art installation marking the centenary of the First World War. An incredible sight.
With the last poppy laid today, “Blood swept lands and seas of red” by ceramic artist Paul Cummins comprises 888,246 poppies, one for each life lost by British and Commonwealth Soldiers during the First World War. A poignant memorial on a breathtaking scale.
It is 100 years since the beginning of the First World War and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. Conflicts continue this very moment worldwide. I am also mindful that we shouldn’t forget those who, for whatever reason, were not included on the nation’s war memorials.