Letter from Westminster 13 November 2015

This week the nation remembers those who gave their lives for our freedom.

On Sunday I was moved by the annual Remembrance Service in the Memorial Park and afterwards in Romsey Abbey, where I was struck – as always – by the vast numbers of local people who came to pay their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. It was also particularly poignant to have the recently unveiled War Horse statue in the background as the wreathes were laid by local people and organisations.

There has been a great deal of talk, in the media and elsewhere, of groups ‘politicising poppies’ and the depth of bows of politicians at The Cenotaph but, while these criticisms may be perfectly valid, they take the focus away from the importance of remembering the cost of war and the bravery of those who put their own lives at risk for our country.

On Monday I met another very brave man. A local vicar who has made regular trips to Syria in an effort to help secure a lasting peace there. He has worked with both Christians and Muslims and told me about some of the extremely difficult experiences in the region. He explained there are a number of good people in the area who are genuinely trying to bring peace to their country and that people need to hear the voices of Syrians rather than simply listening to the twisted narrative in this most harrowing of civil wars.

There was no PMQs this week, enabling MPs to return to their constituencies for Armistice Day. This allowed me the chance to attend the short service of remembrance in the Memorial Park on Wednesday along with the Mayors of Romsey and Test Valley, RBL members, children from Romsey Abbey Primary School and Revd. Sledge.

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