Bishop joins calls for people to Remember Together this November


Bishop Martyn has joined MPs from across politics, and faith, community and former military leaders to back ‘Remember Together’, an initiative showing that the nation’s Remembrance story belongs to all of us in the UK irrespective of nationality, creed or colour.
 
Coordinated by the Royal British Legion and integration thinktank British Future, Remember Together brings people from different backgrounds together, in the lead-up to Remembrance Sunday, to learn about and commemorate their shared history.

Servicemen and women from Allied nations such as Poland and the Czech Republic fought for Britain in the Second World War, alongside millions from pre-partition India, including modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, and the Caribbean, Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

In a joint letter published in The Observer Labour’s David Lammy MP, Conservative MP Neil O’Brien and Lib Dem defence spokesperson Jamie Stone MP urge the public to remember “how soldiers from Britain and its allies from across the Commonwealth nations, the US and the free armies of Europe fought side-by-side to overcome adversity,” and to “reflect on the things that we share.” They are joined by former Chief of Defence Staff Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, as well as senior representatives of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths and from Britain’s Sikh and Hindu communities, Polish veterans and Pakistan’s High Commission to the UK.

The letter urges the public to remember “how soldiers from Britain and its allies from across the Commonwealth nations, the US and the free armies of Europe fought side-by-side to overcome adversity,” and to “reflect on the things that we share.” 

Remember Together events in Leicester and in Boston, Lincolnshire this weekend (2 November) will bring together British people from all ethnic backgrounds and Eastern European citizens too, to mark this important history that we all share – and to remind people that Remembrance is for all of us.

The Leicester Remembers Together event drew on the history of the ‘Indian Comforts Fund’, which sent some 1.6 million parcels of food and warm clothing from the UK to Indian soldiers who were prisoners of war or fighting on the front line during the Second World War. 

You can read about the event in this article: http://www.britishfuture.org/blog/remember-together-leicester/

You'll also find short films from Remember Together events bringing people from different backgrounds together in Leicester and Boston, Lincs, on the British Future website and on Youtube.

Sunder Katwala, Director of British Future, said:
“It can often feel that we talk a lot about the things that set us apart and too little about those that bind us together. Remembrance is a moment when we set differences aside and remember the sacrifice of others – it’s important to highlight this history that is shared by people from a range of backgrounds in the UK.
 
“This is a history that we can all be proud of. Britain’s tradition of remembrance is as relevant if your parents came here from India, Pakistan or Poland as it is for someone whose family has lived here for generations. It’s something we share that can bring us together.”
 
Catherine Davies, Head of Remembrance at the Royal British Legion, said:
 “Today’s Britain is made up of so many communities whose ancestors stood together in our darkest hour. Remembering the service and sacrifice of all of these communities is vital to understanding our shared Remembrance heritage.”
 
The full text of the letter and signatories are as follows:

 
Sir-
In our often-divided times it is important to pause and reflect on the things that we share.
 
As we approach Remembrance Sunday and we remember 75 years on from three pivotal battles of the Second World War - Monte Cassino, D-Day, and Kohima and Imphal - we should consider how soldiers from Britain and its allies from across the Commonwealth nations, the US and the free armies of Europe fought side-by-side to overcome adversity.
 
We welcome this Autumn the ‘Remember Together’ initiative from British Future and The Royal British Legion, which brings different communities together to mark our shared heritage.
 
This shared history of service and sacrifice encompasses the stories of the Polish and Caribbean airmen who helped defend our skies, being marked in Boston, Lincolnshire; and the commemoration in Leicester of the 2.5 million strong army from undivided India that fought for Britain in its hour of need.
 
It is a message that we should share far and wide across the UK - that Remembrance belongs to us all.
 
Yours,
David Lammy MP;  Neil O’Brien MP; Jamie Stone MP; Rt Rev. The Lord Bishop of Carlisle, James Newcome; Rt Rev Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester; Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, former Chief of the Defence Staff; H.E. Mohammad Nafees Zakaria, High Commissioner for Pakistan to the UK; Catherine Davies, Head of Remembrance, Royal British Legion; Sunder Katwala, Director, British Future; Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism; Imam Qari Asim MBE, Chair of the Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board; Amandeep Madra, Chair, UK Punjab Heritage Association; Jasvir Singh, City Sikhs; Cllr Dhruv Patel OBE - Founder & Director, City Hindus Network; Hanka Januszewska, Director, Polish Heritage Society.