Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Tameside Honours the Centenary of Remembrance

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

A hundred years ago last Sunday, 11th November, the guns of World War 1 fell silent for the last time, four years and 17 million deaths after they first opened fire. Those who emerged from the trenches on that fateful day knew that they had, against all the odds, survived through the most horrific conflict in human history to date. Whether they had endured the mustard gas of Ypres, the machine guns of the Somme or the mud of Passchendaele, they all swore “Never Again”.

None of those people are with us now. Since the death of Florence Green in 2012, at the incredible age of 110, there are now no known living survivors of World War 1. The Remembrance of 2018 is not the remembrance of those who fought and lived that terrible war. It is the Remembrance of those for whom that carnage and slaughter is confined to chapters in a history book, or in stories passed down from grandparents or great grandparents. The torch has been passed, and it falls to us to remember their sacrifice and uphold their promise of “Never again”, because no one else is able to do it for us.

But we all know that, despite World War 1 being labelled “the war to end all wars”, conflict has remained a constant feature of human life over the century since. From World War 2 and the Korean War, to the modern day struggles in the Middle East, men and women continue to leave our shores and fight and die for their country. From 1945 to the present day, with the exception of 1968, at least one British soldier has died on active duty every year, a number of which have been from Tameside. Even if they didn’t fall in one of the World Wars, their loss remains as keenly felt, and the need to honour their memory remains as vital as ever.

In their name, Tameside came together last weekend to celebrate the centenary of remembrance, with every town and community holding their own parades and wreath-laying ceremonies. Accompanied by the Civic Mayor of Tameside, Councillor Denise Ward, I attended the parade that ran from the Denton Working Men’s Club to the war memorial in Victoria Park, where a solemn and moving service was held.

These weekend events were the climax of a wider programme of remembrance that has been taking place across Tameside since the beginning of the month. Over the course of eleven days, we’ve placed silhouettes of Tommies in the windows of Dukinfield and Denton Town Halls, encouraged children to look for hidden toy soldiers in Stalybridge, put on a “dance for victory” at Hyde Market ground and organised a film screening at the Local Studies and Archives Centre in Ashton about life on the Home Front. The centrepiece was a poignant parade of life-sized silent soldier statues, one each for every town in the borough, standing as silent witnesses to those who fought and sacrificed. 

My thanks go out to everybody who turned out to show their support, in particular those young people who will no doubt continue to carry the flame of remembrance long after we are gone. As we look back at last weekend, let us make sure that the spirit that brought us together continues to influence us all in the weeks, months and years ahead. We must uphold the promise of “Never Again” in both thought and action, honouring those men and women who fell, but also working for a peace and justice which will ensure that no one else has to suffer like they did on those battlefields of a century ago.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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