I turned on the radio this morning to catch the latest news headlines and didn’t expect to have tears rolling down my face. I had heard the discussion about leadership and the referendum, as well as the weather and other random bits of news. But shortly before 7.30am there was the sound of shelling followed by a reading from a Lancashire Fusilier and then two minutes silence.
Like many people it was incredibly moving and there were tears in my eyes as I contemplated what happened 100 years ago today. I dissolved in tears when the whistle was blown at the end of the two minutes of silence. It was so poignant and moving.
The events today have been thought provoking, moving and disturbing in equal measure. I found the ghost soldiers appearing around the country really eerie. The parade in Manchester was quite breath-taking and thankfully was able to take place in a bit of rare sunshine.
People often question why we commemorate such events and why remembering the past is important. For me there are many reasons why we should stop and take stock of events. The present is built on the past and so many people have made huge sacrifices so that we have the freedom we know today.
It is hard to comprehend the many thousands and thousands of people that died in the Somme 100 years ago. Whole streets were decimated and towns and villages across the UK were never the same again. But there are also all the personal stories of families who lost a father, brother, uncle or friend. I have many letters that my grandmother wrote and received around the second world war and death is written about in a very matter of fact way. It is so hard to understand what went through people’s minds at that time.
The remembrance is never a celebration of war it is recognition of so many other things. Young people cut down in the prime of their lives with so much that should have been ahead. We need to understand what happened, and why, and find a way to show our gratitude to all those who were affected. Today was one of the days when we can stop and reflect. I did and I hope others did as well.