This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, which adds poignancy the traditional remembrance on 11th November of those who gave their lives in two world wars and in many conflicts since. Across the borough there will be opportunities to pay our respects and to remember.
In total I shall be attending eight different acts of remembrance starting on Armistice Day at Farnborough Rd Junior School where at 11.00am the pupils will observe a silence. Over the next forty-eight hours I will attend events in Southport, Formby, Ainsdale, Crosby and Bootle.
Some of these will be major set piece occasions like the gathering at the Lord Street War Memorial on Sunday morning with wreath laying and a march past the Town Hall. Others will be more informal gatherings with people who have served in our armed forces including a Curry Lunch with veterans in Bootle. That will be followed by a visit to Formby where they hold their parade at 3pm.
Music plays a large part in our nations remembrance and that is true Sefton. On Saturday night I will be at Holy Trinity Southport for their Remembrance Concert including a performance of Faure’s Requiem and also of poems and other music special chosen for the event.
After I have had my Curry Lunch in Bootle I shall be returning to Ainsdale where for Remembrance Weekend there is a special exhibition to be held in the Methodist Church. There will be paintings and drawings by Tony Bramham and stories of military services from local people.
I believe that there has been a major change in the public’s attitude to people who have served their nation in our armed forces. I have witnessed how service men on leaving the military often struggle to come to terms with civilian life. As a society we should not be content that so many people who are homeless, in prison or in mental health services are former service people. We need to resolve that our acts of remembrance should spur us on to ensure that there is the proper level of support for those leaving the armed forces.