Today is Armistice Day and as we prepare for Remembrance Sunday, taxi drivers are again helping war veterans remember fallen comrades by taking them to memorial ceremonies in London for free.
The tradition began in the capital 13 years ago with London black cab drivers volunteering their time to support the free Poppy Cabs Service which transports veterans in the capital to services at The Cenotaph and to take part in the Remembrance Sunday Parade.
With veterans becoming older and often travelling great distances, it is a moving gesture from London’s taxi drivers that helps those who have fought for our country to remember their friends and colleagues who made the ultimate sacrifice and didn’t return from conflict. We enjoy the freedoms we do today because of that sacrifice.
The tradition will again see rows of iconic black taxis lined up on Westminster Bridge this Sunday as their drivers take veterans from mainline stations to the Remembrance Day commemorations – all without a fare being charged.
As well as helping those who have served our country to pay their respects, supporting veterans is a cause close to the hearts of many taxi drivers.
London cab driver Mike Hughes, who coordinates the hugely popular free service, told Charity Today: “Knowing that the Poppy Cabs service is available for veterans, relieves much of the stress of attending this emotional event and every year we are overwhelmed by the support of the London cab trade and the men and women who give us their time and vehicles.
“This year we are delighted to have received support from Asda for the Poppy Cabs service and one of our cabs has been wrapped with a livery to remind people of the service and the fabulous support and respect the London Cab trade show to our veterans.”
Dick Goodwin, vice president of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said: “As well as organising the Poppy Cabs service, Mike Hughes produces a Poppy Cabs badge which raises funds for the Royal British Legion and the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans.
“As a charity that is wholly reliant on donations the money, these badges generate for us each year is most welcome to help our work supporting veterans from all conflicts.”
While each year there are fewer veterans of the Second World War to whom we owe a great deal, there are veterans from other conflicts that deserve our appreciation and need our continued support.
It has been 40 years since the Falklands war which saw 255 British military personnel killed and thousands more wounded and still battling emotional scars.
More recently, British armed forces have fought in Iraq, Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia, and the ongoing war on terror and so-called Islamic State.
It is in the more recent conflicts that people will know friends or relatives who have fought on the frontline, or been injured or killed fighting to protect our freedoms.
It is important that the huge sacrifices made in the two World Wars, as well as other conflicts, is never forgotten.
We will never be able to truly repay the millions of lives sacrificed for us, or the families left behind to grieve. But by paying tribute to their service to our country, we can ensure that their memory will live on.
Lest we forget.
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