IT is difficult to fully understand the sense of joy and relief felt 100 years ago at the end of the First World War.

Each year, the number of people attending Armistice events in the borough has increased, especially with Bury’s strong links with the military.

As we prepare to commemorate the centenary of the end of hostilities, we are being called to unite even more to honour those who gave their lives 100 years ago.

Few of us can really comprehend the horror of a World War.

Recent conflicts this country has been involved in have been largely hi-tech bombings with relatively few British casualties.

During the First World War, towns and cities lost thousands of young men in battle with families being torn apart by these tragic losses.

Fathers, brothers and even sons in their teens were lost on the front line as worried families waited for news, only to have their worst fears tragically confirmed.

And the horror of war was brought home by attacks on British soil ­— including Zeppelin air raids in which towns in our area were targeted, causing loss of life and destruction.

As the anniversary approaches, there are events and ceremonies being planned across Bury and across the world to acknowledge the sacrifices made on both sides.

There are heroic tales of bravery in the face of death and tributes paid to the thousands of Bury soldiers who would never set foot on home soil again.

These were men from ordinary families who fought to the death to give us the freedom we enjoy today.

Their sacrifice is as important now as it was 100 years ago and must not be forgotten.

So it is vital that we support the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal, attend Armistice services, and observe the silences as we pay our debt of gratitude. We cannot thank them enough.