November is the month of remembrance. It is when we remember those that have died in defence of our democracy and our way of life. Although the act of remembrance is in recognition of those that died in the First World War, we also remember all of those who died in wars and conflicts both before that and since.
For me, like most of us, it is something very personal, because my great uncle – Allan Brown – was killed in the first world war, and my grandparents served in the second world war. Allan Brown lived with his parents John and Kate, in Old Farm Road, West Drayton. He went to war as an underage volunteer, to fight for his country. He was killed during the battle of Canal Du Nord on 27th September 1918 at the age of just 18.
Families across Hillingdon, the UK and indeed, the world will all be remembering their loved ones and ancestors who gave their lives to defend our rights and freedoms. The act of remembrance is always very humbling and makes me think of those freedoms that we continue to have because of the sacrifice that those brave men and women gave, and that with rights and freedoms, come responsibilities not to abuse them.
One of the most important freedoms we have, that our families fought and died for, is the freedom of speech. So, I think it is important to reiterate that this freedom does come with responsibility, and that it doesn’t mean that anyone has the right to say things that are abusive or against the law.
There are lots of myths that are spread on social media about various faith groups being offended by the poppy. This is a completely made-up claim with the aim of causing bad feeling towards one group or another. Indeed, people of all faiths and none fought together on the battlefield as comrades, and we remember them all. The Royal British Legion have published their own Myth busters to combat this sort of misinformation circulating on social media.
The act of remembrance and its integrity is even more important now because as time passes, those with living memories of the two world wars are getting fewer every year, and we must continue to remember those that died and what they died for, forever.
So, I dedicate this column to the act of remembrance.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM