The recent announcement of new national restrictions will have caused disappointment for many and will feel like a backward step after the progress we made in the summer in bringing Covid 19 under control and re-opening areas of our economy that has been closed. I am pleased however that this time around, we will be keeping education settings open, and that the furlough scheme has been extended for those who will be unable to work.
Despite the very different year that 2020 has been there is still some semblance of normality, and the increased sight of poppies as we enter November is a reminder that Remembrance Sunday is on the way. It remains an important day in our national life when we pause to remember all those who have given their lives in service.
As with so many other events this year, the events to mark the occasion will be different but despite the break from traditions I will still be laying my wreaths in Halesowen, Cradley, Cradley Heath and Rowley Regis.
It has been a challenging year for the Royal British Legion, with many of those who usually sell poppies in shops and high streets unable to do so this time. I am pleased to see however, that the Legion has adapted to the Covid crisis and there are still many ways to get involved and play your part. You can visit their website to donate and download a poppy for your window, or make a purchase in the Poppy Shop.
The last couple of years have seen a series of important milestones in our nation’s historical military history. Armistice Day in 2018 marked the centenary of the end of the World War One, June 6th last year marked 75 years since the D-Day landings, and this year we marked the 75th Anniversary of VE Day in May and VJ Day in August, which brought an end to the hostilities of World War Two. Even though the commemorations of these two days were carried out differently to what had been originally planned, many people took the opportunity to celebrate in their own way and both occasions were a great moment of national pride in challenging times.
Finally, I would like to pay tribute to all those who serve in our Armed Forces. We have seen again this year the important contribution they make, whether that be through helping to bolster flood defences during Storm Dennis last winter or assisting our response to the Covid crisis with logistical support in moving PPE and ventilators, delivering testing, and helping to build the NHS Nightingale hospitals at record speed. Our service personnel are respected all over the world and they give us much to be proud of.
This article first appeared in the Halesowen & Dudley News on 5th November 2020