As an ex soldier this time of year can be difficult for some, for others more difficult than usual.
The proliferation of small red paper flowers on peoples lapels reminds me, as it does myriad others, of friends who won’t pick up the phone if I forget they are no longer here, or others, broken, physically and mentally, with wounds received in the service of their country.
I am lucky, and this time of year reminds me of this. Having served, I survived with no physical and no recurring mental issues, many of my friends cannot say the same.
This little red flower, immortalised in the powerful poem by John McCrae, grew in vast red swathes in tiny clumps of land still able to furnish life amidst the carnage wrought by WW1.
I don’t know why this is, I have no doubt there is a reason tied to me getting older, but as each year passes, this time of year affects me more. Today I shall listen to The Last Post on the radio, and have no shame in admitting that tears will fall, unbidden.
On the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month, I will find myself a small piece of solitude, and stand to attention, alone in my thoughts, in memory of those who haven’t been as lucky as me, who are no longer here, many left in some corner of a foreign field.
To those who went before me and those who went with me, I remember you and to those who will go after me, God speed, I salute you all.