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MARTEL MAXWELL: The high emotion of Remembrance Day never lessens for me

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Every year it’s the same – I buy enough poppies to open my own stall.

It’s not just because they never actually stick to a coat for longer than a few hours, but because I want to.

I want every poppy seller who gives their time to know what they are doing matters and that many people care.

I want to buy 10 of their stick-ons, five in red felt donated by a kindly person, and a fancy brooch at one time (I actually did this at the stall in Tesco Riverside) because I want the money to go to war veterans.

I also want plenty of spares and my boys must go to school every day (the stick-on ones last around 23 seconds in the playground) proudly wearing this badge of honour.

If you don’t want to wear one, it’s a free country.

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But plenty of us do and every year I’m taken aback by the emotion that comes with watching the various ceremonies around Armistice Day, when we fall silent to remember and thank the soldiers who gave their lives fighting for the values and future of our country.

I love that the occasion was marked on Friday at the likes of the High School of Dundee – a spectacle with their historic pillars covered in poppies, with the pupils, cadets and pipe band so respectful in their movements carried out with military precision – that is hard to beat.

There were also events on Sunday and Monday, shown on TV at 11am.


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Every school has its own history of former pupils who fell in the two world wars but one from the High School in the centre of Dundee sticks with me – that three brothers lost their lives.

Even now, thinking about it, I cry for them and for their mother and father – the loss of one child unimaginable, but to wave three off never to return is unbearable.

My great-grandfather Jock Reilly lost his life in the Second World War and many of you will have relatives who fought and perhaps died too.

I never knew Jock, but I am proud of him.

As the election approaches, the divides between “remain” and “leave” – whether that be the UK or EU – are stark and polarising.

But November 11 transcends politics.

I don’t want an erosion of history, of our values or our patriotism when it comes to something as important as remembering our heroes.

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This article originally appeared on the Evening Telegraph website. For more information, read about our new combined website.