Many of you will have been involved this year in events commemorating World War One, and will be joining in Remembrance Services in the course of the next few days, services at which we remember those who gave their lives for our country, including in the most recent wars.
Generations of school children will be familiar with world war one poets Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and our own Hedd Wyn but we should add to that list Owen Sheers’ award-wining Pink Mist in which he portrays very powerfully the lives of three young soldiers from Bristol who served in Afghanistan …. one who was killed, one who lost his legs and one who was mentally traumatised.
In his masterful and sensitive dramatic verse, he conveys to us a glimpse of the challenge for them and their families of adjusting to life back home, a challenge which can be quite considerable even for those who are not so scarred by their experiences.
In recognition of the nation’s gratitude to our service men and women for their commitment, service and sacrifice for our country we legislated in Parliament in 2011 to enshrine in law the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant to look after the needs of Service personnel, bereaved families and veterans. Local authorities across the country including Carmarthenshire County Council and the Hywel Dda Health Board then signed up to the Community Covenant, but the real challenge is to make that support a reality.
With big changes in the armed services, as we finish deployment in Afghanistan, relocate forces back from Germany & move to a greater reliance on reservists, it is particularly important that help to adapt to change should be there.
This weekend, as we remember all those who gave their lives fighting for our country, let us also remember those who bear the scars of war, and their families, and make sure that they get the help and support that they need.