Brentwood Borough Council has a long history of marking Remembrance Day with dignity and solemnity. This week I was honoured to take part in the annual flag raising ceremony in which the Mayor of Brentwood, Cllr Gareth Barrett, led representatives from the Royal British Legion, the Cadet Forces, and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex in a short ceremony.
The town will mark Remembrance Sunday this week with a parade of the Armed Forces, the Brentwood Imperial Youth Band, and local dignitaries.
Services will also be held in Ongar and North Weald and I was pleased to be able to help local district and county councillor, Jaymey McIvor, display the traditional red poppy emblems on Ongar High Street.
The Royal British Legion poppies are available across the constituency, and I was reliably informed by the Vice President of the Royal British Legion (Brentwood Branch), Dennis Rensch, that this area raises one of the highest amounts of money each year through the sale of poppies. Dennis is just one of many volunteers who are in Sainsbury's this week selling the paper poppies, as well as badges, bracelets and crosses. Do go and visit him and his fellow volunteers who do such a wonderful job.
We Will Remember Them
I have been receiving many emails from constituents who are concerned the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph could be affected by protests and echo the words of the Prime Minister that to plan protests on Armistice Day is provocative and disrespectful, and there is a clear and present risk that the Cenotaph and other war memorials could be desecrated. This would be an affront to the British public and the values that this country stands for.
The right to remember, in peace and dignity, those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for this freedoms, must be protected. I understand that the Prime Minister has also asked the Home Secretary to support the Metropolitan Police in doing everything necessary to protect the sanctity of Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.