Published: 00:00, 09 June 2014
| Updated: 09:54, 09 June 2014
We must make sure that our remembrance of servicemen and women who have died in conflict is ‘active not passive’.
That’s the message from North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale following the 70th anniversary commemorations of D-Day and the Normandy landings.
He said: “It is right that so many people have turned out to recognise the courage and the self- sacrifice of those who landed on the beaches of Normandy, and those who supported them on the sea and in the air, 70 years ago. Those of us from the generations that have followed owe our freedom and our way of life to the fact that brave men were prepared to put their own lives on the line to liberate Europe from the tyranny of Nazi Germany.
“During the past few days I have visited war graves in Margate, in Herne Bay and in some of our village churchyards. It is awe-inspiring to read not just the names but the ages of those who have fallen in battle or who have died of wounds following repatriation. Most were in their early twenties and some, including those who signed up illegally, were in their teens.
“There are those who believe that “we could not do it again” but as the Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, has said, “the golden thread remains” and, sadly, there has only been one year since the ending of World War 2 when a serviceman or woman has not fallen, somewhere in the world, in combat in our national interests. There are young men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the Falklands, in Iraq and in Afghanistan and Northern Ireland as well as in other less well-publicised campaigns in foreign lands.
“Over this long weekend I have been privileged to meet some of the survivors of D-Day and Arnhem and to hear first-hand and be told in a matter-of-fact way their tales of outstanding courage and sacrifice. Each of those stories is a testimony to the determination that ultimately right and justice shall prevail.
“We owe it to these men and to the memory of those thousands who did not come home to work to ensure that the scourge of National Socialism is never allowed to raise its standard over Europe again and that the liberty and tolerance for which people have fought and given their lives is protected now and into the future.
“We will remember them, but that remembrance has to be active, not passive.”
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