Express & Star comment: We must support Poppy Appeal

As the nation debates coronavirus, the language is often that of battle.

Poppy Appeal.
Poppy Appeal.

It is a fight, a battle against a deadly enemy against which we are seeking eventual victory. There are heroes on the front line, and there are sad casualties along the way.

Then there is that other sort of battle, involving shot, shell, and hidden roadside bombs which kill and maim. Those who come through without physical scars often have mental scars. When the guns have fallen silent, they need, and deserve, continuing support.

Shortly the Royal British Legion's annual Poppy Appeal will be launched. The first one was in 1921, so it is just shy of its centenary. And in all those years there can hardly have been a backdrop which is so challenging and difficult as today.

We are familiar with the sight of volunteers selling poppies. This year many of those volunteers are unable to help because of coronavirus.

As with all charities, fundraising is taking a hit. There are predictions that the amount raised this year will be well down.

Traditional acts of remembrance, with parades and ceremonies at war memorials honouring the sacrifice of the dead, will be affected by the Covid restrictions and will only be possible in a greatly scaled down or altered form.

So the RBL is having to adapt, while asking the public to help as never before, and has come up with a range of suggested ways in which people can continue to do their bit in a safe environment.

The appeal supports service personnel, veterans, and their families, but if you want a flagship scheme which is a shining example of the good that the RBL does you need look no further than the Battle Back Centre, which since its official opening at Lilleshall only eight years ago has helped thousands of service personnel and veterans in their recovery, ranging from those injured in battle to those with psychological trauma.

For over 100 years a grateful public has vowed We Will Remember Them. This year we will remember them once more.

But through today's circumstances we are charged with an extra responsibility to hold good that solemn promise – by going the extra mile to give them our support.

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