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Why Remembrance Day has new meaning

poppy's in field

By Graeme Gordon, Praxity CEO

There is a poem by Laurence Binyon which is often quoted on Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veterans day or whenever the ‘fallen’ of wars are remembered.

Strangely, it is not the first or the last verse that is quoted but the one in the middle of seven. The quote is:

 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.”

 

In this strange year in which we find ourselves, I propose that when we recite the above words, we add, in our thoughts, the over 1.2 million[1] souls who have lost their lives to Covid-19.

Regretfully, like most of you reading this, I know of friends and individuals who have lost their lives to this virus over the last seven months. I will think of them this Remembrance Day on 11 November, along with my former colleagues and others who have died during wars. Not just because, I contend, we are in a war against this virus, but also because it is the right thing to do.

But I will recite the second stanza of the same verse with even greater gusto than normal:

 

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.”

 

And those I will remember will not only include the fallen of wars and of Covid, but importantly, those who have put themselves at risk to help protect the rest of the population against the ravage of the virus – the doctors, nurses, other key medical workers and researchers. Not to forget those who kept ‘life’ going by maintaining essential services, the supply of food and the safety of others.

We already owe these individuals a great deal. We should not, nay, we should never, forget them.

On behalf of my family and friends, may I publicly say “thank you”. We owe you more than we can say. If we ever appear to forget, please forgive us. We know how much we owe you, and deep down we will always have you in our hearts.

 

[1] Per John Hopkins University as at 04 November 2020