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This year marks the centenary of the end of The First World War.
With such a landmark anniversary approaching, I want to pay tribute to the millions of British veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice during that conflict – including one of my great uncles. Our thoughts also turn to our servicemen and women who have died serving their country in conflicts since.
Throughout the East Midlands there are hundreds of reminders of the fallen. From the smallest village to the largest city, war memorials commemorate those who have died in action. They are a focus for communities on Armistice Day every year, a place where many of us gather in solemn remembrance. They are a place where we pay our respect to our fallen heroes.
I believe that this is now the time for us to:
- Remember anew those who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our nation’s freedom
- Raise awareness among the younger generation of the deeds of the older generation
- Repair or enhance the war memorials in our communities.
That is why, in this very special year, I am launching a War Memorials Campaign across the East Midlands, which I represent in the European Parliament. We have some exciting things planned over the next year. As well as focussing on the care of war memorials in the East Midlands, there will also be an educational element. We plan to visit several war memorials throughout the region telling the stories of the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in conflict. We plan to reach out to school children, teaching them the importance of remembrance.
On 26th May, we will be officially launching the campaign. However, we have already begun to visit some of the thousands of war memorials in the region. Pictures of these can be found above.
This webpage will be expanded as the campaign progresses, so please do check back regularly for updates. In the meantime, if your local war memorial requires some attention, please get in touch with me. Alternatively, if your local war memorial has an interesting story behind it, I'd love to hear about it.
Let’s make 2018 the year where we do all we can to protect our war memorials.
Rupert Matthews MEP