as we prepare to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and -women in the two World Wars and later conflicts, we should perhaps also pause to remember the many other people who have made similar sacrifices with similar fortitude for the benefit of contemporary and future generations: doctors, nurses and aid workers; police and fire officers; miners, engineers and construction workers; journalists; and many others.
doctors have always risked their lives to treat patients with infectious diseases – with or without an understanding of the risks. they, along with nurses and aid workers, have entered life-threatening environments, of epidemic, plague, war and anarchy to protect and provide for others.
police and fire officers routinely put their lives at risk to protect others in ways that we too readily take for granted.
engineers, construction workers and miners have worked in harsh, dangerous, and often terrifying conditions to build dams, tunnels, bridges, railways and roads, and to extract minerals. deaths were, until relatively recently in the developed world, commonplace.
journalists have long reported from zones of armed conflict, natural disaster, and political instability to inform the world about oppression, war crimes, corruption, and extreme hardship. for some of them, a dedication to truth and transparency has cost them their lives.
these men and women, and many more besides, sacrificed their lives for the betterment of mankind just as surely as our soldiers. we should take time to remember them too. would it not be appropriate to do that on Remembrance Sunday?
organisations representing different groups could arrange their own ceremonies and collections, and choose their own symbols of remembrance for people to wear. Remembrance Sunday would be more inclusive, spreading awareness of the many people, in so many walks of life, who have, and will continue, to make the ultimate sacrifice for the rest of us.