A Moving Tribute to the WWI Generation

Column in the Barry & District News by Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP

I was incredibly moved when reading the messages written by local primary school children on the wreaths which were laid at Barry Memorial last week. One hundred children laid one hundred wreaths as we marked the centenary of the end of the First World War. It was an opportunity for future generations to learn about the great sacrifices that were made by their ancestors and to learn about why we pay our respects on Remembrance Day.

One message in particular stood out for me. It read, ‘We don’t know all but we owe them all’. I thought this was a really touching and thoughtful message, one that really grasps the significance of what the day is about. A simple message but a beautiful one.

I feel that it’s really important to organise events like this, in my role as your MP. We have a duty to teach future generations about past conflicts, as we look to create a more peaceful future. I’m very grateful to the eight schools who participated. The children were really engaged and I thank the teachers who did a great job making sure that the day ran smoothly.

It was a huge privilege to work with the Royal British Legion (RBL) on organising this and I’d like to pay tribute to the fantastic work that Teresa and Jimmy, along with their team, do for the Armed Forces and veterans. The presentation that Jimmy, Chairman of Barry RBL and a veteran himself, delivered was not only educational but also a very moving. I could see the emotion that it generated and it really brought home the importance of remembering those who have given so much.

Thank you to the many Vale businesses who generously contributed to the cost of the wreaths. Over 30 businesses donated and showed once again what a strong sense of community we have locally. I’d also like to thank Aston Martin and Siteserv for their substantial donations of £1000 and £500. This money is going directly towards the Royal British Legion and supporting their incredibly important work. We aimed to raise £2000 for the RBL but I’m delighted to say that we managed to raise £2940.

With many more commemorations taking place over the next couple of weeks as we move towards Remembrance Sunday on 11th November, I ask that everyone supports the Royal British Legion as best they can, so that they can continue to support our Armed Forces. I would also ask you to visit the ‘Thank You Boards’ on display at Barry Library where you can write your own message of remembrance.