THIS weekend, we should pause and take time to remember those who gave their lives fighting in conflicts across the world.

Of course, Sunday, November 11 is especially poignant this year as it marks 100 years since the Armistice at the end of the First World War.

The length of time since then means that our ability to relate to that horrific war is incredibly difficult. But we should make sure we try to understand what those thousands of young men had to go through.

Anyone born from the 1930s onwards has thankfully not had to be involved in global conflict.

However, our parents and grandparents who are still alive have a much closer link. Many had relatives who fought in the Great War.

Those who returned to the UK may not have spoken very much about their unimaginable experiences, but the surviving members of their families, who are still alive today, know full well the extent of their suffering.

Their relative(s) might have been among the hundreds of thousands who died, or the survivors who had to somehow return to normality back home afterwards.

There are many events this weekend in Bolton and across the whole of the country as a mark of respect to those who have died as a result of serving their country in war.

They come at the end of a week that has seen an example of mindless vandalism that defies belief.

The ‘There But not There’ Tommy sculpture installed in Farnworth was bent out of shape overnight on Sunday.

It understandably caused outrage and the council pledged to have it back in place before this Sunday.

One reaction, from 93-year-old former soldier, Fred Pollitt, struck me for a number of reasons.

He rang The Bolton News in tears after hearing the news. In tears. A man who served his country in World War Two.

The first thought that occurred to me is that the morons who committed the act are probably not that much older than young men who were slaughtered on the fields of France 100 years ago.

Second, was the way Mr Pollitt, who served with the Royal Engineers and landed in France 10 days after D-Day in 1944, reacted.

Despite his clear upset, he didn’t blame the culprits.

Instead he said: “I would like if I could to take whoever was responsible for this, to get hold of him, put him on a bus and take him to Bayeux Cemetery in Normandy.

“He would see the graves of the soldiers who died in the Second World War.”

“But I don’t blame him. It is his parents, his grandparents and his great-grandparents.”

His response shows dignity and compassion, qualities that those who vandalised the Tommy sculpture sadly appear to lack.

It is people like Mr Pollitt and is comrades who are no longer with us, as well as all the young men who gave their lives 100 years ago, that we should remember and pay our respects to this Sunday.

Instead of wasting our anger on stupid, ignorant, vandals, let’s put our efforts into thanking those who paid the ultimate price so that we can appreciate the freedom we enjoy in 2018.