Remembrance Sunday Ceremony 2014 - Speech by HE Antony Phillipson
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
HE Antony Phillipson addresses the crowd during the Remembrance Day Service on 9 November 2014.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…on behalf of the British High Commission and the Singapore Armed Forces Veterans League, welcome to Kranji War Memorial for this Remembrance Day Service.
As always, it’s wonderful to see so many of you here and especially so many young faces.
I would like, on all our behalves, to echo Commander Lamb’s thanks to those who have contributed to this service, including the team from the High Commission, and Tanglin Trust School choir.
I would like to say a particular thank you to Mr Somu and his team here at Kranji which, as always, looks immaculate this morning.
And also to all those in Singapore, and at Marlborough College in Malaysia, who have put out trays of poppies and collecting tins in the last few weeks, and those who have bought them and helped raise money for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Ladies and gentlemen, we come here, of course, to pay our respects to the fallen, the wounded, and all whose lives have been and are affected by conflict.
They are the ones who have given so much for the freedoms that we enjoy today.
For their loved ones who mourn their loss, this act of remembrance does not, of course, only happen once a year. But there is an added element of honouring their sacrifice when we come together on this day.
Because we do so as part of a bigger community, as all around the world others gather together, in Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries such as this, by cenotaphs and in city centres and town squares and on village greens.
It’s an occasion when we step out of our busy, hectic lives, when we pause from enjoying and experiencing the liberty and opportunities that were won and defended for us at such a cost, in order to say, quite simply, “thank you”, as well as “we will remember you”.
Although we remember those from all conflicts, particularly World war 2 here at Kranji, this year has obviously seen a particular focus on World War 1 as we mark the centenary of the events that led up to its outbreak in late July 1914, and the initial engagements of that awful conflict.
While many expected it to be a short affair, with talk of the boys being home by Christmas, by November 1914 it was already clear that was not to be the case, with horrific casualty rates on both the eastern and western fronts and the murderous stalemate of the trenches already setting in.
That it would not end for another 4 years, and lead to around 37million casualties in all, is even now scarcely comprehensible.
But comprehend it we must, and remember it we will. Because only by doing so do we truly honour their sacrifice.
Thank you for joining us, and helping us to do so this morning.
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