David Drew MP - Marking the armistice centenary
Remembrance this year will have an added poignancy, marking the centenary of the First World War Armistice.
This centenary year, Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day coincide and I shall be at Stonehouse where I’ve attended the commemorations over the last 40 years. In the afternoon I shall attend a special service in Gloucester Cathedral.
I know that there are Remembrance events across the district and others will be placing wreaths on my behalf at the memorials that I cannot attend.
The Stroud valleys are home to one of the nation’s first memorials, the Wayside Cross at Woodchester dedicated in 1917, and the memorials that went on to be erected in our villages and towns are poignant places. I’ve studied many of these, reading the names, often of siblings, and they make emotional reading. There is no doubt that the Stroud valleys bore a heavy toll and I am heartened to see so many creative remembrance events this year.
Stroud people have long supported the Poppy Appeal, raising tens of thousands over the years to support veterans and their families.
While we remember those whose lives that we cut short and who died on our behalf we must also celebrate the peace that followed. However, for some there was no peace. Though I only met one of my grandfathers on a couple of occasions as he died when I was very young, I am convinced that he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following his experiences as sailor in the First World War.
I hope as many people as possible will turn out at this year’s parades – it remains as important as ever that we remember and learn from what happened.