Ben Fox
Ben Fox

This Remembrance Day marked the centenary of the end of the First World War. It is difficult to comprehend the number of lives lost – an estimated 16.5 million military and civilian deaths.

In this country, every city, every town, and nearly every village lost someone in that war. Across Devon, thousands left and never returned to see our rolling green hills again. This is the sacrifice that people turned out to honour en masse this Remembrance Day. From Exeter to Plymouth, Okehampton to Bovey Tracey, Princetown to Tavistock, streets were lined with all those wanting to commemorate and honour the soldiers that paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

However, as we look to the past during this season of remembrance, we should keep an eye on the future. Now more than ever, as we commemorate the fallen, we need to make sure that coming generations continue to remember and understand the values that underpin their sacrifice.

By continuing to make sure we remember their service, we recognise the tradition of freedom these men and women fought to preserve. They believed that their actions in the present would make a significant difference for the future. This is the lesson that needs to continue to be passed on to future generations. Those who served in the First World War truly believed that “Without freedom there can be no ensuring peace and without peace no enduring freedom.”

They gave their lives to protect that freedom and we must make sure that we never take that hard-fought freedom for granted.
(Photo contributions from Jack Andrews & Lauren Rowe)

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