It's an annual event that reminds us all of the darkest, most destructive and hardest hours of mankind. Like many, my family has no grand military history. However, like all I can feel a great sense of gratitude to the men and women who have sacrificed their one life for me and my relatives.
My gratitude extends from those men who charged towards an inevitable death to the men like my grandfather who transported supplies through Europe. Lest we forget those who died in the Somme and the young Britons, Canadians, Americans, Australians and others who perished on sand swept beaches of Normandy in 1944. But also to those who died in the fields of the Falkland Islands and to all the men and women who are currently in Afghanistan at this moment in time.
As Christmas approaches I remember the caption from Wilfred Owen's poem 'Miners' (A poem that i actually enjoyed/appreciated at A-Level English):
"Comforted years will sit soft-chaired,
In rooms of amber,
The years will stretch their hands, well-cheered
By our life's ember"
What I think Owen is trying to say is "remember us, but also live for us, for our sacrifice and for what we stood for"
That passage has stuck with me ever since I read it and I'm sure it will remain with me for a long time.
So when the distinctive chime of that bell rings out through London and through our radios this Thursday and Sunday, I plan not only to pay a minute of respect to those I've spoken of, but I hope to live a lifetime of joy and happiness which I am so lucky to have been gifted with.
It is now that I remember that even if I don't support the cause, I will be in forever admiration of those who have given their only existence on this planet to preserve it.