Lest We Forget: Remembrance Sunday, 2020
Remembrance Sunday was very different this year. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, services were dramatically scaled back. The usual 10,000 or so military veterans and members of the public who pack into Whitehall had to be cut to 30. The numerous march-pasts and wreath-laying events around the country, normally attended by thousands, were also cut down significantly.
In Harrow, I took part in a wreath-laying ceremony with Bob Blackman MP. It is extremely unfortunate that the event had to be small in size, but services across the country on Sunday show that nothing could stop us paying tribute to those who fought for the glorious country in which we live.
It is of paramount importance that Covid-19 does not break our yearly commemorations. Now, more than ever, we must come together to appreciate and celebrate those who gave their lives for our freedoms, and those who continue to serve our great country.
We must counter the tendencies of those who seek to renounce our country and the things we stand for. Let us make sure we remember what this country has given us and what it represents: the rule of law; tolerance for others’ opinions and beliefs (as long as those views do not impinge on others’ freedoms); the right to vote; equality of opportunity; protection for minorities and much more. Our forefathers’ bravery and sacrifice ensured we enjoy all these things. Let us never forget that.
In both world wars, soldiers of the Commonwealth fought side by side with allies whom they did not know. Some 1.27 million Indian soldiers contributed to the war efforts in the First World War, and 2.5 million in the Second World War. 135,000 sadly lost their lives, with many more civilian deaths. Many of our grandfathers were among the thousands who won awards for bravery.
My message to people of all ethnicities, religions and cultures this Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day is: take pride in our country and everything we stand for. Failing to do so would be a grave injustice to those who gave everything for us to live peacefully.
Lest we forget.