In the days ahead, the eyes of the western world will be on Portsmouth and Normandy, as we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings on 6th June 1944 to liberate north west Europe from German occupation.
This was an international effort, with Allied forces consisting primarily of American, British and Canadian troops. The international focus on remembrance is therefore not only appropriate, but right.
There are also thoughts and thanks to be given closer to home. I have enjoyed reading about Eric Strange, now 95, who is from Crawley and served as a Sub Lieutenant in the Navy, sailing from Portsmouth on D-Day.
The importance of remembering what has been given for our freedom is not lost on me. The Palace of Westminster was bombed during the Second World War, and the arch leading to the House of Commons chamber was rebuilt at Churchill’s suggestion, from the original bomb-scarred stone.
This continues to offer a reminder to myself and other MPs, and indeed to a whole range of visitors to Parliament, of the impact of war and the strength of those who emerged victorious.
On Thursday 6th June I will take a moment to think of Eric and his comrades who were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice; without whom the freedoms and democracy we enjoy today would not exist.
Henry Smith MP