15 NOV 2018

Armistice 100th Anniversary

Every year, it seems, our County Town comes out in even greater numbers than the last. Old, young and in-between, regardless of the great British weather, we all come together to pay our respects.

Walking down the High Street I feel a strength within the people lining, and then following our solemn route. It's as if the act of remembrance is a relief valve from the pressures of daily life, where we put the trivial into perspective against the enormous loss so many have suffered through war.

For perhaps the only time each year, the cars and lorries are still and quiet, and the bridge across the Medway is peaceful as we approach the war memorial.

The two-minute silence always gets me welling up inside. Surrounded by the spectral quietness it is a moment of deep and shared reflection, standing alongside so many with personal stories of sadness and sacrifice, that we may live unoppressed in a free and fair society.

I thought of families whose lives have been capsized; I remembered the importance of doing everything we can to prevent future bloody conflicts; and I took comfort from the bonded and collective national commemoration which Remembrance Sunday represents.

100 years on, World War 1 is now a living memory only for very few, and so Remembrance changes, and becomes ever more important; to ensure that current and future generations truly understand the sacrifice their forebears made and the importance of preserving peace.

The past four years of WW1 centenary commemorations will have helped this process and as the end of the Great War was marked this weekend, I was so pleased to see new ways in which people marked this terrible chapter in human history. The lighting of beacons, life sized silhouettes of the fallen, sand artistry on our beaches and the moving displays of poppies which have adorned our public buildings. We will remember them.

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