Burnley MP column Antony Higginbotham: Remembering the fallen

Next weekend is Remembrance Sunday and whilst it is going to be slightly different this year, it’s as important as ever for us to remember the sacrifice that have been made by all those who have served in our armed forces.
The Remembrance Sunday parade makes its way through Burnley town centreThe Remembrance Sunday parade makes its way through Burnley town centre
The Remembrance Sunday parade makes its way through Burnley town centre

The service that we would normally hold, like those we had to stop for VE and VJ Day earlier in the year, sadly won’t be able to take place. And whilst that is a sacrifice we unfortunately have to make, it pales compared to the sacrifice of those we remember.

But that does not mean we cannot still commemorate the day. Purchasing a poppy is the easiest thing we can all do, reflecting on our shared history, supporting the work of the Royal British Legion, and remembering those who gave their today, for our tomorrow.

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I remember as a young Army Cadet, getting my poppy box and walking around the streets.

This year the legion have gone to great lengths to ensure whilst that might not be possible, those who want a poppy can still get one. From boxes in all the main supermarkets through to the online PoppyShop.

And this includes innovative new ways of donning your poppy too. From displays in your window to the virtual poppy run.

We are adapting, just as our armed forces do every day.

Purchasing a poppy does so much more than showing support, it also helps the RBL continue to provide the incredible work it does for veterans, their families and those who continue to serve.

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From financial advice and support through to housing issues, mental health and mobility needs.

Each year we hear the rollcall - the names of those who paid the ultimate price for us and I hope in the not too distant future we can recommence trips to the battlefields of Europe for school aged children. My own trip, over 15 years ago, remains one I cannot forget, nor would I want to. It is poignant, powerful and sobering.

So whilst next Sunday’s service at the Cenotaph will be on a smaller scale, I know it will be no less important for us.

And closer to home, in our borough, we should recognise the proud community of veterans we have; a community which not only looks after one another, but which plays an outsized role in helping others too. Local charities like Veterans in the Community, BFC in the Community and Healthier Heroes do us proud.

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Respecting and honouring those who are currently serving, or the numerous veterans we have in Burnley and Padiham is a year-round endeavour but this special day is way for us to unite around what makes our country great.

Our ability to face up to challenges and defeat them, creating a better future for the next generation. I, like you, will be paying my respects.

We will not let these difficult times stop us from doing proper honour to those who gave their lives for our freedom and safety. So buy your poppy this year - online or at the supermarket - supporting the families of those who have given so much.

Finally to all those who form part of the armed forces family, past and present, thank you.