ACROSS the country this weekend millions of people paid their respects at Remembrance Sunday services, honouring the memories of all those who have suffered and died in conflict in the service of their country, and the sacrifices and commitment of those brave men and women serving today.
It is an emotional and important act of remembrance.
We feel great respect for those serving bravely, and also sorrow at the loss of life of so many people, both armed forces and civilians.
In Newport we mark the occasion at the cenotaph, the monument built in 1923 to honour the dead of what we now know as the First World War. At the time it was built I imagine many would have hoped that the terrible war that ended in 1918, which had seen millions die across the globe, would be the last. Unfortunately, that was not to be.
The ceremony in Newport is always moving. A two-minute silence was observed in 1919 on the first Armistice Day, and it is a tradition we have kept for remembrance.
The silence allows you time to reflect. I think about both the scale of suffering in the past wars we have fought, and the commitment and duty still being made by men and women serving today.
Reflecting on the suffering of those caught up in conflict is a reminder to us all of the real cost of war. We must remember and honour those who have sacrificed so much, and prevent future generations suffering as those in the past. We must remember the wars so that we can work for peace.
I was privileged to be there on Sunday with so many others. I will also be privileged next Saturday to join the parade for Newport’s Merchant Navy Memorial Service, at 11.30am at the Seafarers Memorial, Mariner’s Green.
Members of the Merchant Navy have shown bravery and sacrifice in many conflicts, and it will be an honour to attend.
Finally, I want to finish with a word of thanks. Many of us have worn poppies in the run-up to November 11. The Royal British Legion run the poppy appeal each year to raise money for their charitable work, and they deserve our thanks for their efforts which will have raised millions again this year for members of the Armed Forces and their families.