Ever since I was a little girl, I have been passionate about Remembrance Sunday. I think the belief in, and respect for, our armed forces comes from my wonderful Granny, whose father was part of the training team for our Spitfire pilots in the Battle of Britain. She had an ancient gramaphone on which she would play military marching bands music of an evening, and I have continued her passion for all of that. The prospect of being able to take my children to see the Royal Tournament in years to come gives me a sense of pride in our troops which is heart-warming.
And so today we will be remembering long lists of names, of soldiers, sailors and airmen, who have given their lives in the service of their country. Their names are read out in villages and towns across the country. In our little village of Netherwitton, the list is the same every year, the names on the war memorial. Thank goodness there have been no more recent additions from the Iraq & Afghan Wars - but there are many places where those old war memorial lists of names have been added to by ongoing conflicts. The thought that some of the lads in our little village might one day join up and go to war, and that - even with modern warfare technology - some might lose their lives, makes it all very real and stomach churning. The loss of young life is somehow incomprehensible.
When I meet up with our troops, often the Air Force men & women from RAF Boulmer, I am conscious that the issues of greatest importance to them are not their body armour, rations, fear of the Taliban. They are most concerned about their families back home whilst they are on duty. Housing, debts, the local school for their kids - that is what worries them - not the terrifying exploits of war which they experience.
The Military Covenant, our unwritten contract between us as citizens and those we ask to protect us from harm and enemies, should ensure that we show the greatest concern for those troops' families. Liam Fox's commitment to restoring that Covenant is of the utmost importance. Whatever cuts and realignments there must be as we redress the nation's finances, we must never allow this Covenant with our troops to be breached.