We will remember

A few years ago now I visited the Menin gate in Ypres. This experience brought home to me not only the horrors of war but also the sacrifice of so so many lives.

When the country falls silent on Sunday to commemorate Armistice Day, millions of people like myself will honour those who have fallen.

For Armistice Day is about respect. Respect for those who have died serving their country since the beginning of the First World War.

Gwent was not immune to the impact of the Great War, nor any other conflict since. Our communities are full of veterans; full of people who risked their lives and saw friends and comrades make the ultimate sacrifice beside them. These are not just older members of our communities, but younger ones too. All deeply affected by the ravages of war. We have a duty to recognise this and support them.

When John McCrae wrote “In Flanders fields the poppies blow; Between the crosses, row on row” he highlighted the red beauty that had blossomed in a bloody wasteland. And since then this has been transformed into a symbol of hope.

Symbols matter. Rhetoric matters. I wear my poppy with pride every November because it reminds me of the horrors of war and the millions of lives, both young and old, destroyed by it. It is essential we recognise and remember the sacrifices they made for us. Because respect matters.