Speech Philip De Bruyn, Vice-Chairman Last Post Association
Your Royal Highness, Minister, Excellencies, Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is now one hundred years since the Third Battle of Ieper was fought in the fields beyond this city.
Much has changed in those hundred years. If the men who took part in the battle could return today, they would no doubt be amazed – perhaps even a little shocked – by what they would see.
But if they were to look more closely, they would soon recognize that some things have remained unchanged. They would see that people today still cherish the same values for which men fought and died a century ago. That equality, freedom, justice and democracy are still the basis of our society. That defending the weak against the strong is still our highest priority. That creating a sustainable and lasting peace is still our highest goal. In short, they would see that while the way the world looks has changed beyond all recognition during the past century, the things that are fundamentally important have remained the same. That is their legacy to us.
One hopes they would also see the gratitude we feel towards them for these precious gifts, so that perhaps they would feel their sacrifice was not in vain. And it would be pleasing to think that in another hundred years from now the generations who follow us will be still be able to benefit from these same gifts. If we continue to live up to the example set to us by the men and women of the Great War era, then I believe there is every reason to be optimistic.
We in the Last Post Association will certainly continue to play our part, by reminding people – day after day, year after year – of the price that was paid by so many to safeguard all the things we hold dear.
It has been said that those who forget their past are destined to relive it. The Last Post will make sure that we do not forget. Thank you.