Today we stand united to remember the courageous men and women who have served our country, defended our freedoms and kept us safe. We remember all those who have fallen and those who have risked their lives to protect us.
This year has been particularly poignant as we mark so many milestones.
Most notably, the centenary of the start of the First World War. Yesterday I joined the millions of people who have visited the Tower of London to see the poppies installed there to mark the centenary. This is an incredibly moving, yet stark reminder of how many people gave their lives in that conflict – and it reminds us of all those who have done so since then.
This summer we also marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day and I had the privilege of attending the commemorative events in Normandy and hearing one of my constituents tell his story of the incredible victory there and the comrades he left behind. I will never forget his words and the pride they felt in the job they had done. They will never be forgotten. Their sacrifice secured a better future for us all.
And that is exactly what our troops returning from combat operations in Afghanistan have achieved. While Camp Bastion has now closed, we will never forget that 453 of our armed forces made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in Afghanistan. We are safer here in the UK because of the battles they have fought there and we owe everyone who has been a part of that campaign our gratitude.
We owe each and every member of our Armed Forces and the families who support them a tremendous debt – one that can never be repaid – and I pay huge tribute to their bravery and resolve.