TODAY, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the nation pays tribute to those who fought for our freedom and continue to fight for it.

Some of them are still with us and some, like the late George French, whose story we’re honoured to tell, are not.

At an age when most modern young people are just embarking on a college or university course, or starting their first job, Mr French and his comrades were among thousands of heroes who went ashore in Nazi-occupied Europe.

While not yet out of his teens, he and his regulation-issue gun faced one of the mightiest, most evil and most terrifying war machines ever assembled.

Along the way he earned the gratitude of the people he helped to liberate and even managed to demand the surrender of an enemy warship.

He and his comrades, like the thousands of other men and women whose sacrifices and hardships we mark in solemn silence today, did what they did so evil-doers would not prosper, oppressors would be thwarted and innocent people could sleep soundly without the threat of heavy boots on the stair.

There were hopes that the turn of the millennium would usher in an era of greater peace, but those hopes were dashed by a paroxysm of conflict which continues to this day.

When we honour military personnel at our Cenotaph, we honour not just those who fought in past conflicts but also people who survived and must deal with the consequences of far more recent ones.

We — and certainly those of all political persuasions we choose as leaders — should do all that is possible to make sure those brave people and the loved ones of the Fallen are given not just supreme respect but also whatever assistance they need, now and in the future.