Dear Unknown Soldier,
This is a letter from a future you could not have lived to see, even if you hadn’t been a soldier. But I’m writing to let you know that although you were unknown in your lifetime, and even though we still don’t know your name, you are not unknown to us. Not now.
You did more for us than you will ever know, and I want to say thank you.
Many of us would not have been born, let alone had the freedom to lead peaceful lives in this beautiful land of ours, if not for you and your fellow men. Hundreds of thousands of people who are alive now feel just as I do, but I don’t think you would have thought about that when you lived.
I want you to know that although I suspect you died horribly, you are remembered beautifully, with love, affection and sad gratitude 100 years on and you will, I’m sure, be remembered 1,000 years on. If you’re not, humanity will have failed you.
I want you to know how sad I am for you and for your family and those who loved you, that your life could not have been a longer one.
And I want you to know how glad I am that you stand there, holding this letter, on Paddington Station in 2014 because you are a constant reminder to all of us who live now, every one of us who sees you and looks up at you as we pause on our way to somewhere else, of the tremendous sacrifice you and your fellow men made for us.
Because of this you are not forgotten.
Because of this we salute you.
And because of this you are no longer unknown.