Remembrance Sunday is always an important occasion for many of us in Hastings and Rye.
We remember and pay tribute to all those who have lost their lives in the service of our country. It is also an opportunity to recognise the fantastic work of the Royal British Legion supporting current and ex-servicemen and women and their families.
I would like to thank everyone in Hastings and Rye who attended this year’s ceremonies and parades. In Hastings, standard bearers, serving members of the military, veterans, police cadets, guides and scouts marched from the town hall to the war memorial in Alexandra Park where a two-minute silence was observed before the laying of wreaths. Michael Foster, President of the Hastings branch of the Royal British Legion observed that he had never seen so many people participating.
This Remembrance Day we thought of those who fought, died and were injured in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, and those who served in conflicts throughout the last century. We remembered the generations who took part in the First and Second World Wars, who are sadly with us in diminishing numbers, but whose immense courage we still honour. We also reflect on current conflicts around the world, and the daily sacrifices made by those who continue to defend our values and way of life. Our thoughts and thanks are with them, as well as with their loved ones, who miss them but support them every step of the way.
It is important that we uphold our obligation to members of the military and their families. That is why I am pleased that the Government continues to uphold the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant. Enshrined in law in 2011, the Covenant sets out the nation’s obligation to ensure personnel and their families are treated with fairness both during and after their period of service. Spouses and older children of service personnel are now be able to claim income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance as soon as they return to the UK, rather than being made to wait three months. The Veterans Employment Transition Support programme will provide mentoring, training and advice to those who leave the Armed Forces. Also, it is vital that military families find a great place to live, that partners can find a great place to work, and that children can find a great school without being disadvantaged because of their parent’s service.
We owe every member of our Armed Forces and the families who support them a huge debt - they fight for us, suffer for us and, throughout, show tremendous bravery and resolve. The Remembrance period is a time when we must continue to join together to ensure that their commitment does not go unnoticed, and that their sacrifices will never be forgotten.