Remembrance Day, and the run-up to it, is my favourite thing on a long list of reasons I love the UK. That an entire nation pauses to so visibly, and palpably, give thanks to the millions who sacrificed, fought, and died to gift us with our lives, freedom, security, and prosperity, and does so every year without fail, is incredibly beautiful to watch and to have the privilege of being part of.
The same very cute elderly man was running the poppy desk at our local grocery store every night, and most nights I would chat with him. I had to exchange a lot of pleasantries before I finally learned that he had served for four years as a nurse in the Army. His eldest brother, whom he never knew, had been a navigator in a surveillance plane in north Africa during WWII and had died when he was shot down over Egypt. Both of his other brothers also served in WWII. ("I was very late, and a mistake," he said. Some of the best are.) I told him about my grandfather who had served in the Pacific; and he told me I ought to plant a cross for him in the Remembrance Garden, in the churchyard of Westminster Abbey. I had never heard of this. He gave me the cross and told me what to write.