PROTECTING our country is more important than ever, Bognor Regis’ MP told those at the town’s annual remembrance service.
Nick Gibb said was the world faced increasing turmoil to make the need for the armed forces stronger than ever.
“We are living today in one of the most uncertain times of my lifetime and, possibly, many others.
“There are 58 million refugees, very grave things happening in the Middle East and odd things happening with Russia.
“It’s important we maintain the acts of commemoration like today,” he said at Sunday’s civic occasion.
“The youth movements and the cadets and the strength of the armed forces is as important as it was in 1918 because of the uncertainty of the world we live in.
“I would like to pay tribute to everyone who serves in our armed forces and the work they do to preserve our freedoms.”
A host of organisations for young people had taken part in the sombre parade and service at the war memorial at the town hall.
They included the Scouts, Guides, Sea Scouts and Army Cadets. Among them was James Budd as the standard bearer of the town’s Army Cadet Force for the first time.
Rose Green resident James, 14, said: “It was a real honour to be the standard bearer. If you get offered the chance to do it, it is something you should accept.
“I really enjoyed doing it. It’s important to respect the people who were lost fighting for our country and those who are still with us but might be having issues. There are also family members who have lost someone and those who were critically injured.”
Some 1,000 people attended the ceremony in bright sunshine as the community united. It was organised by Bognor Regis Town Council and the Aldwick and District branch of the Royal British Legion after the Bognor Regis branch closed last spring.
Town mayor Cllr Pat Dillon said: “The Legion have been superb. They, and the town council’s officers, have put their heart and soul into today. I’m really, really honoured to be part of this council.”
Father Andrew Wadsworth led the 45-minute long service. He told those present: “Organisations like the Scouts and Guides keep the flame of memorial of the sacrifices of our service personnel alive for future generations.
“Today, we look back to the first and second great wars of the last century and all the wars since 1945. We particularly remember those who were killed in the Battle of the Somme.
“War then was bloody and chaotic. War now is bloody and chaotic. It results in the mass destruction of human life. It leaves many others without arms and legs.”
He showed the service book which saved his father’s life when he was shot by a German sniper in the Second World War. A great debt of gratitude was owed to soldiers like him.
“We have freedoms we enjoy today and take for granted because of their sacrifice,” he said.
Some 50 poppy wreaths were laid by groups as diverse as Sammy Community Transport, the town’s Probus Club and twinning association and Felpham Community College