At eleven o'clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month the Commonwealth* pauses.
I don't have a poppy to wear this year and it seems rather tawdry to recycle last years, but I have made a point of making a donation online.
As I get older the significance of this particular day seems to increase to me, and I don't know why, unless it's the growing awareness of my own humanity and the fragility of life. It's not even as if my family were hugely impacted by the first or second World Wars. My father was just old enough to have to do National Service, but fortunately** just young enough that he missed any action (his photos of the time show him against a backdrop of pyramids) and the only tales I ever heard whilst growing up were rather scurrilous ones from my Uncle Harry who'd been in the Navy and served on the same warship as Prince Philip (Uncle H didn't have a good word to say).
If I were in England this week and this coming weekend I would be wearing my poppy with pride, observing the silence at 11 am and quite probably watching with pride as my children marched to the local cenotaph alongside the other guides/scouts/cubs/brownies and local servicemen. It's at that point I would struggle to keep emotions in check as the lone trumpeter played the Last Post.
Lest we forget.
* as well as other countries who got tied up with trying to keep the world free.
** choosing to be a rear gunner was probably not the wisest move he ever had, as they apparently had the shortest life span in the War.