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"I remember I am walking in the footsteps of all who have given their lives"

In a series of blogs to mark Remembrance and 100 years of women in the Armed Forces we ask 'what does Remembrance mean to you?' SAC Ashleigh Stephens has served as an aircraft engineer for 10 years, she tells us why Remembrance is important to her in this guest blog.

SAC Ashley Stephens

As an RAF servicewoman I feel so proud that I am part of the Armed Forces and that I am doing something for Queen and country, being part of that bigger Service.

To know that there have been people before you who have paid the ultimate price and given their lives in service to their country is humbling. It feels like I am almost walking in their footsteps, in the footsteps of men and women who served during the First World War and the Second World War. 

I myself have completed two tours of Afghanistan and been part of an early morning repatriation ceremony. I was stood saluting, as the bagpipes played and the coffins of the servicemen who had lost their lives were carefully carried into the C17 and I felt incredibly emotional. I felt almost sick with emotion to hear about the loved ones they had left behind.

The experience made me appreciate what I have, my friends and loved ones. I have also lost people close to me, a friend who I served with was killed in a car accident and another who I went to school with died when he stepped on an IED. 

So when I stand at 11am on Remembrance Day I think of all of these people and their families and the loved ones they have left behind. We should not forget these people or the sacrifices they made for us, from the First World War to now. I look at the older veterans standing proudly with their medals on their chests and I think 'you should be proud'.

This year I will be overseas on November 11 but I know we will mark the service with a moment to stop and think of them all.

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