Lest We Forget
Today is Remembrance Sunday.
Like millions of other people, I will be taking part in a civic act of remembrance: in my case at the war memorial at the park in Whitehaven shortly before 11 am, followed by a procession and a civic service at Whitehaven Civic Hall at noon.
Ninety years and a few days ago, Private Robert Whiteside of the Lancashire Fusiliers, my grandfather's brother, was killed in action at the age of 18.
He was by no means the only military or civilian member of my family to die in one of the wars of the 20th century, but his death at such a young age, just before the end of the First World War, sums up the enormous and ghastly waste of life which those conflicts caused.
Today is not the day for making arguments about the best way to prevent such conflicts happening again. Today is a day when all of us, regardless of our views about those issues, should remember the cost of war, including all those who have died in every country as a result of armed conflict, and particularly those who died defending this country, our freedoms, and the rule of law.