Sunday, 14 November 2010

Thoughts following Remembrance in Wilsden

Each year Wilsden Main Street is closed for an hour so we can hold a remembrance service at the War Memorial. And at that service, the Chairman of the Village Society reads out the names of those listed on the memorial.

In one respect this is just a list of 50 or so names and it’s easy to find the recitation dull. Yet these names are of men who died in those two great 20th Century Wars – wars of survival for our freedom, culture and independence. Remembering their sacrifice is the least we can do.

This year, however, I noticed something else. The familiarity of those names – Firth, Ackroyd, Miles, Robertshaw, Lund, Binns – these are local names. I meet every day with people from those very families and it reminds me of the scale of the sacrifice – the effect of the loss on small communities like Wilsden. It wasn’t just that men died but that the scale of death affected everyone, every family and every street.

It seems to me significant that children in Wilsden can be taken to the memorial and shown the name of someone who died for their freedom. Not just a random name but a real name – maybe someone from their family but certainly a name they will know, a name their neighbour or their school friend shares. A real reminder of the price of freedom.


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