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Pause and reflect - Lest we forget


Colin Basnett - Group Director Strategic Engagement

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

Remembrance Day poppy - photograph of poppies growing wild in a field

While formal peace negotiations would not be signed for another 7 months, the Armistice – Latin for ‘to stand arms’ – that ended the fighting on the battlefields of the First World War at 11 o’clock, on the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918 was a seminal moment, not only for the cold and tired soldiers, sailors and airmen in the trenches, at sea, or in the air, but for nations across the globe.

Since then the Armistice has been commemorated with a moment of silence at the allotted hour as a mark of remembrance for the 20 million military and civilian people that died in the First World War, and for the estimated 187 million people that have lost their lives as a result of the subsequent wars that scar the history of the human race.

So it is the duty of those of us alive today to remember the brave women and men who have served, and continue to serve our nations during times of war, conflict and peace, especially those who paid the ultimate price. They fought and died so that we have the freedoms we currently enjoy, and we are in their debt forever.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Our thoughts and our prayers are with those currently on active service. They too should know that they are not forgotten, and that we thank them and wish for their safe return and healthy reintegration into their lives at home.

We also remember the sacrifice of countless others who have suffered or been touched by conflict, including the relatives of those that give up so much for us, who long to have their loved ones back home again, fearing a knock on the door every day that they are away.

We must also acknowledge and honour the work of the doctors and nurses who tend to the wounded with compassion and care, and those that have returned home scarred, physically or mentally, and live with the effects of their experiences on a daily basis.

With national Acts of Remembrance having been curtailed due to the measures needed to fight another enemy – one which is invisible but no less as deadly for those who succumb to its worst effects – we should also thank those around the world who are fighting this latest battle.

Being part of the Defence industry, we are hugely passionate about the work we do with the military, both in the UK and around the world. We’ve pledged our continued support to UK Servicemen and women by signing the Armed Forces Covenant, partnering with UK Armed Forces charity SSAFA, and being an active employer of Armed Forces veterans and reservists.

We’re also extremely happy to announce the creation of a QinetiQ Veterans and Reserves Network. This global network will help Connect, Support and Value those who serve or have served in their nations’ Armed Forces, creating a sense of community and helping them to utilise their unique knowledge, skills and experience.

So on 11 November, please take a moment to remember those who have volunteered, sacrificed, served, fought, and died, for our freedom and wellbeing in whatever guise. We should pause to thank and salute them all.