We all need to remember
PUBLISHED: 11:26 01 November 2007 | UPDATED: 15:17 12 May 2010
HE hardly spoke about the war. Or, for that matter, his time spent in the Royal Air Force during those dark years. And when he did talk about it there was nothing in his conversation which could be described as a tale about a particular act of courage. So
HE hardly spoke about the war. Or, for that matter, his time spent in the Royal Air Force during those dark years.
And when he did talk about it there was nothing in his conversation which could be described as a tale about a particular act of courage.
Sometimes he mentioned he had spent a period of his RAF career in France and Germany in the last days of the war.
But nothing more.
Perhaps he wasn't a hero or someone in a position to display an act of gallantry. Perhaps he didn't have such an opportunity.
But he knew the cost of the war in human terms. He spent most of his days making sure Wellington and Lancaster bombers were in working order.
He knew every inch of the planes - and the crews that were involved in dangerous missions over enemy territory.
And when a plane didn't return he realised that the pilot and crew had probably been lost.
It was that memory of those days waiting in hope on an airbase for the return of a "missing" plane that installed in him a commitment not to forget those who had been lost.
Every year up until his death 20 years ago he made sure he attended Remembrance Sunday parade.
It meant something to him - and he believed that it should mean something to everyone even as the years passed.
The man I'm talking about here was a 22-year-old recruit to the RAF who became Leading Aircraftsman Douglas Anthony Baker: in other words my dad.
He was involved year after year with the Poppy Appeal for his local branch of the then British Legion.
He was on "parade" on Remembrance Sunday and for a moment you could sense that the memory was returning to those years of the Second World and the men who did not return.
In the violent world of today there is every reason to remember.
Remembrance Sunday is not just about the past - but it's about today, too.
It's about the loss of life through all of history where war has torn nations apart, and not the glorification of victory.
We need to remember next Sunday.