On the 24th July I was honoured to take part in a wreath laying ceremony at the German Military Cemetery on Cannock Chase, in honour of those German nationals who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The service began with a wreath laying, led by Kath Perry, the Chairman of the County Council, at the Commonwealth Military Cemetery, before we processed to the German cemetery to lay a second wreath at the High Cross.
Organised by the German War Graves Commission, Staffordshire County Council and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the ceremony also included a speech by Heir Dietmar Werstler, Volksbund President (Bremen area). He spoke very powerfully on peace and reconciliation between the county of Staffordshire and Bremen, with whom we are twinned, and the importance of encouraging the continued exchange of young people between the two countries.
Each year young people from Staffordshire and Bremen, Germany, spend two weeks together, with the purpose of helping to maintain the German Military Cemetery and to learn about peace and reconciliation since the World Wars. This exchange fosters a greater understanding, and I echo Heir Dietmar’s belief in the importance of these exchanges.
It was an extremely moving ceremony, but also one of great hope and positivity for the ongoing relationship between Staffordshire and Bremen.