Remembering the sacrifice

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This is a copy of a poem I extracted from the website of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers Association (the regiment I served with for 25 years). I’ve altered it slightly.

Since it is now less than two weeks until Remembrance Day, and since the armed forces are so prominently featured in the news these days, with the Government forcing the Ministry of Defence to make cutbacks in service budgets resulting in service men and women being made redundant and the almost regular announcements of soldiers being killed or wounded in Afghanistan, I believe that it is more important than ever that the public helps the ex-service community by buying a poppy.

The money raised by the Royal British Legion from the Poppy Appeal goes towards giving those in need a better quality of life. The legion provides welfare, care and support for ex-service men and women who have served in war and may be disabled as a result of injuries sustained in conflict. They may need special housing, wheelchairs to give them mobility, full-time or part-time care, alarm systems to call for help after falling at home or maybe legal assistance to help make claims to industrial tribunals or in claiming war pensions. Every penny that the public gives, when buying a poppy, goes towards providing that care.

The poem may make readers feel more inclined to give whatever they can afford in these already hard times to buy a poppy and show their care and support for all the former members of our armed forces.

Bill Heaney

Kelso

Why do I wear a poppy?

I’ll tell you if I may,

Because I believe remembrance

Is not only for one day.

I wear it for the fallen,

And for those falling still,

For those who come back broken

In body or in will;

For the parents, spouses, siblings,

Where bereavement takes its toll,

Whose pain will never leave them,

It eats into their soul;

For the old drunk on the corner,

Of his past life nothing’s left –

Now he wishes that in battle,

He had died a hero’s death;

For the lad who loved a kick-about

In the park with all his mates,

But now his legs are held together

With pins and metal plates;

For the selfless men and women

Whose final journey home

Is in a Union Jack-draped coffin

On comrades shoulders borne;

For all those marching proudly

In Remembrance Day parades –

My poppy’s worn in gratitude

For the sacrifice they made!