There is something special about this time of year. As 2012 moves into its later stages and the evenings draw in, we can sit and reflect on what has happened during the past 10 months or more.
Great sporting achievements and other events have played out in front of us. There is, however, one more sombre happening which seems to fit so well into these darkening and chillier days and that is our very special Armistice Day, or Remembrance Sunday.
This year was especially poignant as the Sunday for these moving services actually fell on November 11. It has been said before that in the 67 years since the end of World War II our country has been involved in a conflict somewhere in the world for every one of those years, but one.
This is a sobering thought, especially when our efforts have invariably been to stabilise a situation where things have threatened to get out of hand, and which then could have led to even bloodier times.
No one could ever say that we have been correct in going into every conflict we have engaged in, but generally we have tried to do what we thought to be right at the time.
Whatever decisions our politicians have made, our armed forces have had to respond and this they have done unquestionably and with full professionalism.
In my later working life, I spent time alongside two proud army regiments, the 9th/12th Lancers and the Light Dragoons. Both have proud traditions and are very much ‘family’ regiments, with sons following fathers through their ranks.
The Lancers originated from Derbyshire and the Dragoons from the Newcastle area. Recently the Light Dragoons have fought in Afghanistan and lives have been lost, young men barely out of their teenage years.
Those still among us who lived through World War II can probably remember Swaffham servicemen and women, and those from nearby villages, who left for foreign shores never to return.
I have more recent memories, just as painful, which came flooding back as we stood around the War Memorial on a bright cold day, with the ranks formed up, the band playing, poppies on display everywhere and our heads bowed.
We will remember them as we are exhorted to do and these ceremonies will go on unwaveringly for many years to come because the British public demands they do by attending in such numbers.
Younger people will also have memories because there will be future conflicts where we will be involved, with more lives lost. They will parade, as we have done, on cold autumn days, proudly thinking of those that have perished at our country’s behest.
I don’t want to end on a downbeat note, but I wish the traffic had been stopped at the Swaffham War Memorial service. It would have been more respectful for the occasion – a respect that those we came to honour deserved.
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Weather for King's Lynn
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west