Today marks not only the start of the annual Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, but the 90th year in which that remarkable organisation has operated. The Legion, a voluntary organisation funded by donations, was formed in 1921 to support the veterans of the Great War. But since then, as we know only too well, Britain has been involved in many other wars and fields of service, and still is, creating a continuous supply of service men and women, and their families, who need the Legion’s assistance – and that of those who donate to this very worthy cause yearly or more regularly.
The Royal British Legion provides welfare to the whole Armed Forces family – serving, ex-service and their dependants. They also campaign on a range of issues affecting service people, are the custodian of Remembrance, run the annual Poppy Appeal and are one of the UK’s largest membership organisations.
The Cenotaph in Whitehall and numerous war memorials around the country – including Bloxwich, Walsall and other towns and villages in our borough – commemorate those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in World Wars I and II.
Of course in Bloxwich every year the local branches of the Legion and partner organisations, including the local churches, also organise a Remembrance Sunday parade and an Open-air Church Service at the Bloxwich War Memorial near All Saints Church, on the corner of High Street and Elmore Green Road. That act of Remembrance will be a prime focus for Bloxwich people this year as always.
This year also sees the rededication of the Elmore Green School Great War Memorial, now repatriated thanks to Walsall Council, after decades at T.P. Riley School and then in storage after the school’s demolition. This rededication will take place in a ticket-only ceremony at the school, appropriately on Armistice Day, 11 November 2011.
Further afield, to commemorate those that have lost their lives in the Service of their country since 1945, the Armed Forces Memorial was opened in 2007 in the grounds of the National Memorial Arboretum near Alrewas in Staffordshire.
Each June, the names of those who have died in conflict, as a result of terrorist action or on training exercises, in the previous calendar year, are added to this impressive memorial, as a permanent reminder of their sacrifice. It is well worth a visit, and our support.
The annual Poppy Appeal is an incredibly important way of helping to support those who have served our nation – and us – over many decades, and The Bloxwich Telegraph strongly supports the appeal and the important work of both the Royal British Legion and such similar but separate (and separately funded) volunteer organisations as SSAFA Forces Help and Help for Heroes.
Please consider buying a poppy, and making a donation to the Royal British Legion and other organisations supportive of our ex-servicemen and women. It is such an important cause.
Check out the Royal British Legion website for further information: http://www.britishlegion.org.uk