Today – as we do each year - we remember the sacrifices made by generations of our armed forces who have given their lives in the service of this country. We celebrate their courage; we honour their extraordinary dedication and we remember them with pride.
For the sacrifice – and the great achievements - of our armed forces are defining features of our nation - a testament to the strength and irrepressible spirit of a Britain always prepared to do what is necessary to protect the liberty and security of its people; a Britain that fights for its values; that stands up against the things we know are wrong.
This is not just an essential part of British history – it is at the heart of modern Britain – and epitomised today by the immense service and sacrifice of our armed forces engaged in operations across the world, especially in Afghanistan.
So, today we rightly remember and honour many generations of British service men and women - we also pay tribute to all those who have been killed or wounded serving in Afghanistan.
As a nation we share the sorrow and grief that comes from the loss of their lives. 93 have been killed this year. That 93 is not just a number; but 93 families whose lives will never be the same again. 93 families without a Dad, or a husband, a brother or son. 93 families this Christmas with a place at their table no-one else will ever be able to fill.
And as well as those who have died, more than 100 have been seriously wounded this year - in ways that will change their lives, and the lives of their families, for ever.
These men are our heroes. We pay tribute to their memory today and every Remembrance Sunday. And though we owe them a debt of gratitude we can never repay; we will remember them.
Just as in the past we learnt of the bravery and sacrifice of British soldiers in the First and Second World Wars; in their fight to protect freedom both in our nation and the world; so our children will learn of the heroism of today's men and women fighting in Afghanistan - protecting our nation and the rest of the world from threat of global terrorism.
The Poppy Appeal