All heroes

L1160875© Geoff Wilkinson

With the cancellation of Wanstead’s Remembrance commemorations this year, Colin Cronin is encouraging local children to create Wanstead’s first Poppy Trail and for us all to remember our fallen heroes

As Remembranctide approaches, our community’s thoughts turn again to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Their names are forever etched in stone on Memorial Green and their memories held in the hearts of so many family members and friends who still live in Wanstead today. They are true heroes who, for our tomorrow, gave their today and remain worthy of the respect and honour we pay to them each year with the familiar words “at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them”.

Heroism very much envelopes us in the same abundance today as it did during those past conflicts. Our NHS and frontline workers fight against a foe that is equally deadly, stealthier and perhaps far more lethal. Like the fallen on our war memorial, many of them have given their lives during this battle to protect us and should be considered in the same heroic light as those who have gone before them.

We as a community must do our bit too, through social distancing, wearing face masks and to curbs that can sometimes seem cruel, unnecessary or frustrating to our normal ways of living. However, it is these curbs that will help us stem the tide, prevent spreading the virus and allow us to support our NHS workers in ultimately defeating this foe.

With that in mind, it is my profound regret that there will be no official Remembrance Sunday or Armistice Day commemorations in Wanstead this year. There is no way to adequately maintain social distancing, prevent overcrowding or create a safe environment where this virus cannot spread amongst us.

We should still remember our heroes, however, so I am asking the children of Wanstead to please paint, draw or colour in poppies and place them in your front windows, next to your NHS rainbows, to create Wanstead’s very first Poppy Trail. The Memorial Green will also remain open for people to pay their respects and lay their poppies throughout Remembrance Sunday. However, we will operate a socially distanced queuing system this year with the entrance at the front of the memorial and the exit behind it.

I remain confident that Wanstead will come through this virus safer and stronger as a community from having worked together to defeat it. Until that bright dawn, for this year, let us remember in our own way all heroes who have given their lives for us and offer the prayer that we will all be able to come together again soon to commemorate them.

“As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust; Moving upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, To the end, to the end, they remain.”

The Wanstead War Memorial is located on Memorial Green – also known as Tarzy Wood – opposite Provender Brasserie, 17 High Street, Wanstead, E11 2AA.