I HAVE been attending Remembrance Sunday parades for as long as I can remember, and I feel it is one of the most important events of the year.

This is a time to reflect not just for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in times gone by, but for those currently serving on operations around the world.

While taking part in the St Ives parade, I was exceptionally moved. An elderly gentleman who paraded with the Royal British Legion laid a wreath and said, among other things: “Thank you for coming.”

It should not have been him thanking us, but we thanking him. If it had not been for the sacrifice and bravery of his generation and those gone by, we would not have the freedom taken for granted by so many in this country.

It was very humbling to hear that man speak. My brother has served on operations for five tours, and I have lost one friend and have had several others wounded while on deployment, so I am very aware of what this nation's armed forces do for us and have done for generations.

Perhaps we should all take a moment the next time we moan about that 'old so-and-so' holding us up while we do our shopping. Without that 'old so-and-so' standing up for our country, who only knows what state our country would be in – surely not one in which one has the chance to remember and pay respect to our fallen servicemen and women. Would we do the same? That is a question we should ask ourselves.

At the parade I felt very humbled and very proud. We all owe that man and his generation a deep debt of gratitude for their bravery.

The fact that I don't know his name says many things – the Unknown Soldier, one of so many, an anonymous person but one for whom we should all be so grateful.

He kept saying thank you, but I think I speak for all when I say thank you for all he and his generation did.

CHRIS DODSON

St Ives detachment commander

Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force

Sawtry