Remembrance

After the Remembrance ceremony in Arundel on Sunday, the local head of the British Legion reminded me that to have served in the First World War someone would now be aged over 100, or 80 for the Second World War, or 65 just to have done National Service.

So is this event still relevant to today's generation?  Well, hundreds of people came to Arundel's town square, and everyone agreed that the numbers are getting bigger every year.

More than 4 million viewers watched the ceremony at the Cenotaph in London.  The British Legion received orders for an astonishing 38 million poppies - 2 million more than last year and nearly 10 million more than a decade ago.

For me, the service in Arundel was made even more poignant by the presence of children from local schools together with veterans.  With young men serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan, military conflict is not a distant memory, and war is as relevant a topic of discussion today as it was in the last century.

A few hundred yards away, in Parliament Square, there is a permanent demonstration against the Iraq war.  Many question whether we should remain committed to the conflict in Afghanistan.

But perhaps we should remember the words of the poem: "It is the soldier, not the student activist, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate ... the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial ... the soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote."

War is a terrible thing, but the liberty which our citizens enjoy because the allies won the fight against tyranny is the greatest prize.  It's important to hope that no conflict on the scale of the world wars will ever happen again.  But it's equally important to recognise that the young soldiers who died did not do so in vain.

Michelle Taylor