Today, we remember those whose sacrifice gave us the freedom to choose.

< Back To News

Today, we remember those whose sacrifice gave us the freedom to choose.

This year many people in Northern Ireland will stop and remain silent at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. They do so in solemn remembrance of Armistice Day, the day the guns fell silent ending World War One. 

Those same people will stand in the chilly air on Remembrance Sunday, our collective day of reflection. Many will be lost in their own personal thoughts and memories of loves that were lost.

Throughout the United Kingdom the poppy will be worn as a symbolic emblem of service, duty and sacrifice. But not all will wear the poppy and this, strangely, is gratifying. It means that the very freedoms that were fought for have endured over the years giving people the freedom of choice.

Of course, we are in difficult times. War has returned to Europe, there are conflicts in Africa, Asia and the Middle East which combined threaten to topple the world into a global conflict. The war between Israel and Hamas has created deep divisions as the suffering of ordinary people are brought to our screens. 


Now, more than ever, is the time to stop, remember and reflect. To use our collective voices to say never again. We need neither jingoism nor angry voices which are more concerned about what others are doing. Instead, we should concentrate on what we are doing by ensuring the freedom to not wear a poppy should be equal to the freedom to wear one. 


I shall stand to remember; I will do so in the ranks with the men and women I served with. Others are free to do as they wish because their freedom to do so has been bought and paid for by those who went before.


Doug Beattie MC MLA.