My Column this week for the Chronicle on the importance of Remembrance:
Each year since 1921, the nation has come together to commemorate those who have served to defend our way of life, and to look forwards in hope to a peaceful future.
Alongside selling poppies with volunteers in Hoyland and taking part in a sponsored bike ride for the RBL, in my own act of remembrance this week I laid a tribute at the Parliamentary Memorial Garden.
Joined by hundreds of others representing individuals, regiments, and communities from across the country, my tribute paid respects to all those in Barnsley whose lives were tragically cut short serving in the Armed Forces.
I am pleased as ever to see you join me in such sentiments, wearing your poppies in the streets and decorating your windows with pride.
However, remembrance is not purely about the past. It also offers us an occasion to honour those who still serve on our behalf and celebrate those veterans and ex-forces personnel who are still with us.
During the last 18 months, the Armed Forces have completed their biggest ever homeland military operation in peacetime. To assist the country during the pandemic, over 5,000 personnel have been involved in supporting the vaccine rollout, conducting community testing, increasing hospital capacity, and delivering PPE and ventilators.
Likewise, as crisis unfolded in Afghanistan this August, our forces completed the largest airlift since the second world war, going to extraordinary lengths to evacuate 15,000 British nationals and Afghans.
These immense contributions have highlighted how crucial our Armed Forces are to the safety of each and every one of us in times of crisis.
Remembrance week is a chance to say thank you for this service.
For some, remembrance is in a two-minute silence, or the laying of a wreath. For others, it is thanking a service person we know, joining a community event, or fundraising for a veteran’s charity.
It is my hope that we all get a chance this week to commemorate the sacrifices of our brave servicemen and women, honour the fallen, and participate in remembrance in a way that means most for each of us.