Afzal Khan MP planting a  Remembrance tribute in Parliament
Afzal Khan MP planting a Remembrance tribute in Parliament

Every year, Remembrance Day serves as a timely reminder to stop and reflect – on sacrifice, the sanctity of life and the responsibility we all play in promoting peace.

On Remembrance Sunday, I joined constituents for the service at St Peter’s Church in Levenshulme to reflect on the impact not just of the Great Wars, but of global conflicts since. I was pleased to lay a wreath on behalf of myself and Andrew Gwynne MP, and a wreath was also laid on our behalf at Gorton Cemetery.

This year, I’m reflecting in particular on the often forgotten contributions of soldiers from the Commonwealth – like my father – in helping Britain and the allies win both world wars.

Every Remembrance Day, we share stories of bravery and courage, of the men and women who gave everything in service of their country in the time of its greatest need. There are many stories that are untold and undocumented – like those of the soldiers from across the Commonwealth who fought for and alongside the British. One of those soldiers was my father, who served in the British Indian Army, and whose medals I am proud to have.

Hundreds of thousands of people from across South Asia fought and died during the two world wars. With 2.5 million men, the Indian Army of the Second World War was the largest volunteer army in history. It is deeply saddening that their stories and the tales of their bravery, courage and sacrifice largely go unknown and untold. I believe their stories deserve to be heard, and should be included on school curriculums for children from all backgrounds to learn about.

The most important aspect of Remembrance Day is to commit to never letting the horrors of war plague our world again. Unfortunately, this commitment is one that is seldom kept but is intrinsic to our sustainability as a global community. This year, I am reflecting on the valour of my father and all Commonwealth soldiers, praying for an end to the violence across the world, and committing to never forgetting the sacrifice of people who came before us and the importance of securing long-lasting peace across the world.

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