07/11/2014 12:31 GMT | Updated 07/01/2015 05:59 GMT

On Remembrance Sunday, I Will Think of My Friends and Colleagues Who Did Not Return

Every year we gather on Remembrance Sunday to pay our respects to those who gave so much for our country.

In every city, town and village we stand together as a United Kingdom on what is for all of us the most solemn and most moving day of the year.

Generations before us gave their lives so that we could live in a country where freedom and the rule of law are enshrined in an open and democratic society.

We remember those who died to give us these freedoms and those who still serve. We gather to show our gratitude to the heroes of the past and the heroes of today.

One hundred years ago the Great War had just started and little did the people of that time know how tragic it would be.

We salute the sacrifices made so valiantly by those who gave their tomorrows so we could have our today. And at the setting of the sun today and every day, we will remember them.

There is no greater expression of service to one's country and compatriots than being willing to lay down one's own life to protect and defend others. Every one who serves in Her Majesty's Armed Forces does exactly this, we owe them our deepest gratitude and we must honour our debt to them. We salute their courage and we value their exemplary service.

We remember those who didn't return and we stand side by side with their families as part of the brotherhood that unites our country. And beyond the fallen are those who returned with injuries, some visible, many more hidden beneath a dignified and composed exterior.

To each and every one of them we must commit our resources to support, nurture and heal so that they may know we honour the covenant under which they stepped forward, put on the uniform, swore their allegiance and served their country.

This Sunday as I stand and hear the sermon, join the prayers and listen to the Last Post, I will be thinking of friends and colleagues with whom I served in Iraq and Afghanistan who did not come home, those whose funerals I attended and I will be thinking of their families and loved ones for whom Remembrance is such a personal act.

Afzal Amin first swore the Oath of Allegiance aged only 17. His greatest inspiration was his own grandfather who served in the British Indian Army in the Second World War and like him he also joined the Royal Engineers as a TA soldier in Oldbury. After the 9/11 attacks, he joined the regular Army and spent the last 11 years as an officer having trained at Sandhurst and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan