These words carry greater meaning for me with each passing year; as I watch my friends who served and came back age, yet those who did not return remain frozen in time.
I look back on photos of some of those friends who I was fortunate enough to train with in the summer of 2001 prior to the War on Terror, and then I look at them today remembering those who died along side them; I'm struck by the power of the words in Ode of Remembrance.
I left the Forces without serving in any notable capacity, I didn't go overseas, I merely observed from afar as those who served went over, I read the names of those who died in press releases, each time mournful knowing what each death meant, but thankful none of those names were that of a friend.
I knew two of the dead, in that I was in the same training establishment as them at the same time. They remain in their early twenties forever, the guys who watched Jeopardy each night in the mess, who had a great sense of humour. Forever, they will remain the young faces of their official service photos.
I was always struck during my childhood and youthful years by how the emotional gravity of each Remembrance Day increased for the Veterans of the Second World War and Korea, I couldn't grasp why.
Today, I looked at the pain in one of my friends eyes who served multiple tours in Afghanistan. Each seems each Remembrance Day is tougher on him, more emotional.
I have my own thoughts on why, and I think about what they would be contributing today, the joy their sense of humour would've brought to others, those two who I was lucky enough to share a table with those few times.
We Will Remember Them.