Today in the United Kingdom, we pause for thought and with silence, remember those who gave their lives fighting for their country, or helping those in other countries.
I was with my mother at 11.00 a.m. today when we were silent for two minutes.
My mother - whose father (my grandfather) died during WW2, as a result of a not insignificant injury caused by a fire-arm exloding as he held it; this four weeks before she was due to marry my father. After two year's of marriage to a young man hardly out of his teens (serving with the Queens own Cameron Highlanders of Canada), far away from his home and family in Winnipeg, Canada, I was born. Nine month's later, my mother - became a widow. My father, having gone to Italy on a reconnaisance trip, never returned. He has rested in Italy ever since. So, my mother - like so many other wives - now with a small child and another one, my brother, expected - on her own.
I was glad to be with my mother today. Would I have coped as well as my mother's generation did? I fervantly hope I never have to put that to the test.
Whilst neither of us need a "special" day to remember those who are no longer with us, whether family or friends, I think it helps to have the common bond of remembrance. And for me, on a personal note, to think, as well, of my father's family - I family who (with exception of his brother, my uncle, and his wife) I have never met or known.
So for all those who gave their lives, regardless of their nationality, providing a service for their own country or another - I thank you.
If I should die, think only this of me
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.