Remembering our fallen on the centenary of the Armistice

At 11am on Sunday 11th November; in Crawley, at the Cenotaph in London, and throughout the Commonwealth, we will fall silent in honour of those who gave their lives for us in the First World War and subsequent conflicts.

This year, Remembrance Sunday, perhaps fittingly coinciding with Armistice Day, will mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

I am always aware of the sense of history when walking into the House of Commons chamber, particularly when looking at the heraldic shields, 19 of which commemorate MPs who fell during the First World War.

Across the road from Parliament is Westminster Abbey, where each year the Field of Remembrance is planted. This tradition dates back to 1928; and three years later the first Remembrance cross – the small wooden crosses with a poppy in the centre – was planted. These are still planted to this day and provide a visual reminder of the scale of the sacrifice for our freedom. A few days before 11th November the Duke of Sussex will visit, for the sixth year, to pay his respects.

The red poppy highlights the intertwining of the Royal British Legion’s two roles; remembering the fallen and care for the living. By wearing a red poppy to remember those who died, the money we give to the Royal British Legion helps them to care for service personnel who need support after serving our country.

It is important to remember that at this time, we remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom not only in the First World War, but in subsequent conflicts as well.

On 9th July 2009, Private John Brackpool of Prince of Wales’s Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, was killed while serving in Afghanistan. Pte Brackpool was born in Crawley, and it is fitting that a new housing development in town will see a street named John Brackpool Close.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

Henry Smith MP