Last weekend’s Remembrance was a memorable occasion that will stay with us. After one hundred years since its end, the First World War has all but faded from living memory except for a very few who were young children at the time, but it will stay in our nation’s consciousness.
I grew up watching Remembrance Sundays on TV, seeing The Queen and the dignitaries of the day at the Cenotaph with the veterans marching by. I often reflected on how the numbers of First World War veterans marching past the Cenotaph was reducing each year, and it was indeed very sad when we lost our last remaining WW1 veterans a decade ago.
It is hard to put into words the horror of the First World War. The terrible loss of life will never be forgotten and it will always be a major part of our Remembrance, as indeed will be the Second World War. I feel that we observe Remembrance well both locally and nationally, with public support for the Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal always steadfast.
Each June, we have Armed Forces Day which commemorates the service of men and women currently serving in our Armed Forces. For well-intentioned reasons, it changed from Veterans' Day in 2009 as it was felt we should give greater recognition to the personnel who currently serve to keep us safe. We hold our Armed Forces in the highest regard and they are a force for good in the world.
I particularly want to highlight our veterans. Politicians of all political colours are increasingly recognising that their needs and difficulties can be greater than the general population. Veterans of working age are almost twice as likely to be unemployed and more at risk of becoming homeless. I welcome the efforts to change this and the positive direction of travel, but more needs doing to ensure that no one is ever disadvantaged for having served our Country. I also feel that greater recognition for veterans can be achieved and that consideration should be given for an annual Veterans' Day public holiday in their honour.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
14th November 2018