I'm not from a military family. Only a handful of my relatives actually fought in the wars. My great, great uncles fought and died in the Second World War, one is buried at Loos Cemetery, the other's name is etched on the Thiepval Memorial. The First World War is a passion of my dad's. He has books upon books about it and I'm sure it (alongside the American Civil War) would be his specialist subject on Mastermind. It's from this my sister and I have a lot of respect for Armistace Day.
My Grandfather (Dads dad) was lucky in a sense that he was too young to fight in the First World War, being only 10 when it started, and too old at 35 to fight in the Second. My other Grandfather would have only been a teenager at the start of World War 2. So we were blessed in a sense that they weren't directly on the front line. But that doesn't mean their lives weren't affected.
My fathers parents didn't meet and marry until the 2nd World War had started. We think my gran may have had a soldier boyfriend who didn't come back, but we'll never know because he really didn't want to talk about it. My Uncle was born as Clydebank was being bombed. My other Uncle was born just before the end of the war, then my dad was a baby boomer, born in 1946.
I don't quite know what my mums parents did during the war. I know grandad worked in the shipyards, and the aerodromes, so I'm sure he must have worked on some of the Naval fleet. I know my gran worked with the Salvation Army on the trains, serving tea and food to soldiers being transported around the country. I'm sure my mum's grandfather served and came back, as she has his medals.
I wear my poppy with pride every year. I wear mine to remember the lives that were irrevocably changed by war, those who fell and never came back, and to remind myself how lucky we are as a generation that we have never, and hopefully will never, go through what our grandparents, and great grandparents generations went through.