Remembrance Sunday is a time where the whole country comes together to commemorate the sacrifices people made during the First and Second World Wars, as well as recognising those who continue to suffer from conflicts around the world. In my local area, representatives from schools, communities and clubs come forward to lay a wreath on the memorial monument in the centre of the town every year. The wreath of poppies represents peace in death, and at 11 o’clock we have 2minutes of silent reflection to think about those who have died in serving our country.  

For two years now, I have been a part of the Combined Cadet Force run by my school, and I was delighted to be selected to lay a wreath on behalf of the school. I had only ever been to one Remembrance Sunday event before with CCF, so I was very excited to be a part of everything. I arrived promptly and joined the line of wreath laying representatives. From there I had an excellent view of the monument, and I watched as the mayor of Kingston, draped in red fabric and white ruffles walked proudly through the street, followed by a processsion of trumpet players and drummers. Behind the marching band was a large contingent of Navy cadets keeping perfectly in step with each other as the commands ‘Left, Right’ were called. I watched for half an hour as cadets from the armed forces and civil service came past, proud to be representing their contingents. It was wonderful to see the parades as I knew how much effort went into training the young people ready for the big day.  

While listening to the cluster of voices singing hymns, I inched forward to the front of the queue. I watched the person in front of me lay the wreath carefully on the stone monument, glistening with rain drops. I gripped the wreath, standing ready with my two contingent comrades. Finally, the parade master instructed us to go, and we marched solemnly to the monument and I reached out and placed the wreath gently amongst the other halos of red and black. We stepped back and proudly saluted then strode back to the other side of the monument. 

This was such a special occasion to participate in, and I would encourage other young people to get involved in CCF. Not only do you learn a lot of skills and information relevant to the armed forces during training sessions, but you have the opportunity to really ‘serve’ in your community.