At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 1918, after four years of fighting, The Great War came to an end. It has been estimated that the total losses from the First World War stand at more than fifteen million people - approximately ten million of whom were military personnel.
Almost a century later, those brave soldiers remain in our thoughts - as do those that have lost their lives while serving our country both before and since then. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we honour them. We take two minutes out of our busy schedule to reflect in silence upon the sacrifices of the men and women who have fought for their country - fought for us - and we honour them.
It is days like this that make me proud to be British, and proud to have relatives that have served our country in our battles to remain free. My great-grandmother lost her brother in the First World War, and lost a daughter in the bombings of the Second World War. My cousin served in the Armed Forces for six years, including tours of the Far East. Thankfully he came home alive. But we should never forget the millions who didn't.
I'm not what I would call exceptionally patriotic - when the country you live in has as many problems as ours does, sometimes its hard to be. But on days like today, when I watch our veterans play tribute to their colleagues, when I see the people in town sporting their poppies, I can't help but feel proud of my heritage, and proud of the brave battles our servicemen and women have fought over the years.
To all those who have given their lives fighting for their country - goodnight and God bless. Though you may be gone, you are not forgotten.
I wanted to share this poem with you because its a personal favourite of mine. I studied War literature for my English Literature A-Level, and along with Wilfred Owen's 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' this is the one that stuck with me. It was written before the beginning of the First World War, but it always seems to appropriate on Remembrance Day.
If I should die, think only this of me;
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.