Remembrance in the shadow of COVID

Today is Remembrance Sunday. In any other year, this morning would see a packed service at St John’s, large numbers gathering to lay wreaths at the war memorial, coupled with a parade through the town centre and refreshments at the TA Centre. Despite the New Town not having been built at the time of the First and Second World Wars, our community is one which never fails to turn out in large numbers to remember this day and reflect on all those who have been affected by war.

While the lockdown has made marking today in the usual way impossible, I am very glad that it has been possible for a small number of community representatives to lay wreaths in a socially-distanced way to ensure the day is not entirely without the usual ceremony.

Yet, remembrance itself is not tied to formal events, it is something each of us has the ability to do in our own time and I hope that many will use today in the way it is intended. This year, perhaps it is also appropriate to take time to think of all those who have lost their lives to the pandemic which has so far claimed the lives of almost 50,000 of our countrymen. More lives lost than through the entire Blitz and vastly more than all the deaths of British servicemen in all conflicts since the Second World War. It is also worth noting that it was a century ago this year that we managed to end the outbreak of Spanish Flu which had taken more lives than all those which had been lost in the recently-concluded First World War.

Let us remember the lives lost, those who are still suffering, and the key workers who are working to overcome this new enemy. Let us come together to do everything we can to get our community through the next few months and then work to build a better future for our country.

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