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On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month….

Harry Billinge – we think you are a hero…..

Armistice Day is on 11 November and is also known as Remembrance Day. It marks the day World War One ended, at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918. A two-minute silence is held at 11am to remember the people who have died in wars. Remembrance Sunday is held every year on the second Sunday in November. This was yesterday and there were ceremonies held across the country at war memorials, cenotaphs, churches here in the UK and also abroad. This anniversary isn’t just to remember all those who died in World War One but also those who gave their lives in World War Two, The Falklands War, The Gulf War and also conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq to name but a few.

The first two-minute silence in Britain was held on 11 November 1919, when King George V asked the public to observe a silence at 11am. This was one year after the end of World War One. He made the request so “the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead”.

Last year we featured the hard work of the poppy sellers and how important it was to keep this part of history fresh in our minds and over the last few weeks there have been so many remarkable tales but we couldn’t include an article about the ravages of war without mentioning 93 year old D-Day Veteran Harry Billinge. Harry was featured on the BBC previously and during his interview on the D-Day beaches he brought BBC presenter Naga Munchetty to tears. Harry was determined to raise  £22,442 for a memorial to all those that lost their lives during the D-Day landings. He said £1 for each of those lost servicemen. Hearing the interview with Harry was truly inspirational. To see him collecting money where he lives and his courage and conviction to complete the task was an interview I will never forget. The target has been reached and the memorial that was a dream has been started and is now becoming a reality. Footage of the memorial was shown to Harry for the first time and the emotion was clear to see. The vociferous ex Sapper was literally stunned and lost for words. Harry says he was no hero and that the true heroes were lost in battle. I am sure that all those soldiers would view Harry as a true inspiration and brand him a hero like the rest of the nation appears to have done. Harry Billinge – we think you are a hero.

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