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Another sort of memory

Just this short while since November 5th and all those noisy fireworks, we have passed into the time of another November time which stirs our communal memories.

The Second World War was ending as I, and those who were to become my friends and schoolmates, were born. We were born into a time of thankfulness for the peace, but of austerity to make ends meet and to rebuild the world around us.

Comics, newspapers, the wireless, and later the television told us of the victories and the losses. We had reminders of the conflict years in our home – a photo of dad in his RAF uniform, his kit bag and a number of shoulder bags which had held gas masks.

And we had poppies in November: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Month – Never to be forgotten.

We paraded as scouts, we paraded as boy soldiers in the school’s Combined Cadet Force. We attended the cenotaph during our years in London. Our son and daughters paraded as cub and brownies and guides. His mates and their families come together at this time every year to hear the words, say the prayers, stand in silence, and hear the bugle. Then they go off to the pub to tell and hear the stories.

This year there have been special reasons, and more than ever have turned out in sombre, smart dress, and wearing our poppy. First chance since the lockdowns, and grimly aware of the war in Ukraine which brings back the fear and taste of the two World Wars which we thought would never return. There has been strong support for Remembrance Day – There is a wish for peace at all times: White poppies gaining acceptance in UK, say campaigners | Remembrance Day | The Guardian

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