Remembrance Sunday is the most solemn, and arguably the most important, day in the national calendar. Indeed, it is remarkable that, as the years pass and the memories of the two great twentieth century wars recede, the day has, if anything, grown in significance. There has, sadly, been more than enough conflict in the world to ensure that the horror of war, and its dreadful consequences, are never far from the public consciousness.
On Armistice Day, 11 November, the 99th anniversary of the end of the First World War, I took my turn to sell poppies at the Royal British Legion stall in Colwyn Bay. The level of support from the people of the town was remarkable. Very few who were not already wearing a poppy passed by, and many who had already bought one stopped to put more money in the collection box.
On Remembrance Sunday itself, I was at the war memorial in Ruthin. I have noticed, over the years, that the weather on these occasions is usually crisply cold, still and dry. This year, however, it was different. The wind had got up, blowing the Legion standards at 90 degrees. There was a very large crowd in attendance, everyone wrapped warm against the cold. At the moment the Last Post sounded, a heavy fall of large hailstones began, beating on the bowed heads of the congregation. And remarkably, and symbolically, as Reveille was blown, the hail stopped.
And then the wreaths were laid. Veterans of the Second World War came stiffly forward and saluted the memorial, followed by Falklands combatants, members of the cadet corps, Scouts, Guides, St John Ambulance and many more, all paying respect to the men and women who had made the final sacrifice.
Next year will mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. The commemorations will be especially poignant, and preparations are already being made. Remembrance Day will, appropriately, fall on Armistice Day itself. I have no doubt that the crowds assembled at our war memorials will be even greater. The years may pass, but the memory remains undimmed.