"The dream of peace they laid down their lives for must be remembered" say the young people of Aldridge Air Cadets.
The young people of Walsall believe that we must remember service men and women who fought for our communities on Remembrance Day and, if we do not, the sacrifice of their lives would have been meaningless. Last year over 6,000 people lined the streets of Aldridge on Remembrance Day for the ceremony by the War Memorial. The young people from 425 (Aldridge) Squadron RAF Air Cadets will be marching again to commemorate the residents of Aldridge who were killed in war.
"It is easy to take a look at your life and say "wow", I`ve come a long way" said Cadet Middleton. "I`ve come from all the way over there and now I`m here; I`ve crossed that river, I`ve climbed that mountain and, at times, I didn`t think I was going to make it but here I am. But what we don`t do enough of is saying "Thank You" to all of those heroes who have saved our country and have left their day, morning and night and families for jus to have a future. So, in the moment of silence, say "Thank You" to all of those service men and women in World War 1 and 2".
The young people are of the opinion that those who died in the service of their country died for us, their homes, families and friends and everything they cherished and believed in - quite simply they died in the service of their nation. "The reason why I remember and wear a poppy" explained Cadet Tatton "is to remember the veterans who fought for us to have freedom and to have activity like cadets and also for us to be able to live in freedom".
According to the cadets, who come from all parts of the Walsall Borough, the meaning of the sacrifice on Remembrance Day rests with our collective national consciousness and our own future is the monument to the service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.
"I march" said Cadet Smith "not only to remember those who fought for us and our country but to also think about those affected by the loss of loved ones".
Remembrance Day is not just about the world wars but about conflicts in modern times. These wars have touched the lives of people in our communities of all ages, all social classes and all cultures. The fact that we live in a democracy and have freedom to vote and worship is down to their legacy of sacrifice. In the past they sacrificed their future so that we could have one and be free from tyranny. Fathers, sons, daughters, mothers and sweethearts were killed in action or wounded and thousands who returned from conflict were forced to live the rest of their lives with the physical, mental and emotional scars of war.
"I march with the blood of those before me in my veins" explained Cadet Emmerson. "I march, not with a rifle but with a poppy and I am proud for I remember - and that`s why I do it, why the people before me did it and the people after me will do it. We march with red poppies to remember".
We take for granted Great British values and institutions, our freedom to participate in political and cultural events and free speech. The price of our democracy was paid for by sacrifice in distant parts of the world. There have been many wars since the two world wars: Korea, Vietnam, the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan. War, for many of us, is something seen through the lens of a television camera or a journalist`s account of fighting in a zone far removed from our own community. On Remembrance Day the cadets will be marching through Aldridge to acknowledge, celebrate and remember the courage and sacrifice of those who served their country.
"People who have died for us" said Cadet Thomas "have got us to where we are today. It`s important that we remember their sacrifice. We should remember them and thank them for their service to our country. They had the choice to help our future and they took it to help our lives and even if they didn`t know us they paid the ultimate sacrifice".
The inspirational young people from 425 (Aldridge) Squadron RAF Air Cadets believe it is their responsibility to work for the peace those who sacrificed their lives sought to achieve. They say that it was "a dream of peace" that they laid down their lives for "and it must be realised". Those who died in war believed that their actions would make a difference to future generations. Cadet Emmerson succinctly sums up why he is wearing a red poppy. "It is an English tradition", he explains "and it is a tradition that we hold so close to our hearts because it is s personal to us - our friends, our family and our family`s family have all been affected by the tradition that we hold to this day".
By remembering all who have fallen in war, the cadets from 425 (Aldridge) RAF Air Cadets are recognising and commemorating the hardship of those who served their country in war and willingly endured pain and fear so that they could live in peace in Walsall in 2019. It is something that perhaps we should all remember as well.
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