I returned to Clifton Park today for the wreath-laying at the Rotherham Cenotaph. It was lovely to see so many turn out for the ceremony, in spite of the weather, which added to the austerity of the occasion.
I was moved by the outward display of emotion by several of the attendees of today’s service. One lady was overcome by grief and was aided by paramedics. Many of the tokens left to the fallen had familiar names on them: many appear on the Cenotaph itself, so it’s plain to see that for many families the grief is still as fresh as ever, which really drove home the debt we pay to those who have been willing to lay down their lives in service of our country and others.
It’s thanks to these people that we are able to choose our own jobs, enjoy foreign produce and even find the time to sit around reading the paper or watching television.
I grappled with the idea of whether or not to photograph the proceedings today, but I decided that it was entirely appropriate when I recalled the following by George Santayana:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”
I think it’s important to remember not just the symbolism of the poppies that have come to represent Armistice, but the emotional connections that go with it. After all, it’s in defence of our families, or in honour of our ancestors, that many people choose to enter into service in the first place.