St Helens cemetery is where my late grandparents (and other relatives) reside so I am often up there, changing the flowers, maintaining the upkeep and giving the dog a good walk. Last month, I came across the grave of someone from our armed forces who lost his life during the Second World War and felt it was in need of a good clean up. It stood out to me because, by and large, these headstones are usually pretty spotless. But this one in particular resides under the shade of a tree so it has developed a fair bit of fungus. I took a photo of it today, Remembrance Sunday, so you can see what I mean
Of course, another reason why it stood out was the fact that its incumbent, M.M Lyon, was an air gunner and a sergeant in the RAF who lost his life at the tragically premature age of just eighteen years old in July of 1944. It's the kind of sobering fact that wakes you up to the horror of war and tugs at your heart strings. I'm 37 now, I could effectively by this young man's father, which is weird because, as a perpetually single, and childless, man I don't see myself as 37 at all and that makes me think what M.M Lyon would have done with his own life, those nineteen years that separate us, given the chance. Unfortunately, he did not get that chance because he gave his life so that people like me could live theirs in freedom. It's a statement that is rolled out a lot at this time of the year but it doesn't make it any less true.
Standing by that grave I felt determined to do something, and so today - the most apt day to do something for people like M.M Lyon - I went along and gave it a good, much needed clean up with Cilit Bang, a bottle of water, an old cloth and a scrubbing brush. You can see the results for yourself
I didn't know M.M Lyon obviously. I'm not related to him and I know nothing of his life. All I know is he sacrificed himself for his country at an age when if you asked me to go to the shops on an errand I'd have considered it an effort. I felt like I needed to do something to say thanks and to commemorate his service. I think we should all do that on a day like today.
I think we should always remember them, and always be grateful.