To me and my family remembrance has always been an important time of year.
Not because we have a great history of military service within our family, although family members fought in both major wars in the 20th Century. But because we recognise the sacrifice of so many from whatever background that have laid down their lives in the service of our nation.
Therefore I am becoming increasingly frustrated that year after year remembrance is being used as a political football by people from all parties. The shambolic scenes we saw in the Great Hall at Stormont on Wednesday being the most recent and ludicrous example of this.
Our national anthem should be treated with respect at all times, as any national anthem anywhere in the world should be. Therefore to see it used to try and win one over on nationalists is truly disgusting.
The net result of Wednesday’s actions has been nationalists looking mature and statesmen like whilst unionists look like the child who throws the toys out the pram when they don’t get their own way.
What did it achieve? Are we now suddenly more British? Instead of the attention being on the many, who have given their lives in the service of a nation that so many claim to love, we are talking about people singing a song. Worse was to come with the reaction on social media after Mike Nesbitt’s apology to Martin McGuinness.
The DUP went into full attack mode with an edited video of proceedings including subtitles. Never mind the many many jobs we have lost over the past few weeks or the worrying news coming out of Bombardier on Thursday morning, DUP HQ thought their time was better used trying to score political points over Mike Nesbitt.
But this in essence is NI politics. Childish. Immature. Nonsensical. Councils arguing about flags, Papal visits and the Irish language. Stormont producing next to no legislation and becoming increasingly detached from reality.
We’ve seen some cheap politics in Northern Ireland over the years but to use Remembrance as a political tool is surely the greatest insult to all those who have served from all backgrounds. Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and no religion at all.
From all around our globe they have served proudly and with honour defending our freedom and liberty.
Their honour was besmirched on Wednesday and those who did so should be ashamed of themselves.
Stuart Hughes, By email