I always attend the Remembrance Day service in All Saints Church, West Ham. This year was no exception and I was also able to join an equally beautiful and moving ceremony at the Cenotaph in Central Park, East Ham.
These services are always emotionally charged.
I stand with those who fought and those who lost loved ones. We remember family, friends and neighbours, who died in two horrific World Wars and countless conflicts around the globe. We remember those who made extraordinary sacrifices to protect the freedoms we often take for granted.
Remembrance Day is always humbling.
The tragic motorcades through Royal Wootton Bassett reminded us Remembrance Day is also about the present. We still have men and women fighting in Afghanistan. Thirty-seven lost their lives this year alone.
Serving personnel and their families must be dumbfounded to hear of leaked classified memos, allegedly planning to double the redundancies previously announced, including 2,500 wounded soldiers, 350 of whom have lost limbs.
What must it be like for soldiers on active service, daily risking their lives , to wonder whether, if they get wounded, they are likely to lose their job before they recover and are able to adapt again to civilian life?
These young people do not earn footballers’ or bankers’ wages. They can’t put a bit aside each month, in case the worst happens. The basic pay of an ordinary soldier is £17,265.
Surely, even this Government understands it’s important we do the right thing by people who were in the armed services and those who still are?
It’s not courageous men and women who should be dumped. It’s this Tory-led coalition, out-of-touch with the values of ordinary, decent people.