As regular readers of this column may recall, I have - for most of the past quarter of a century - regularly attended the fine service that takes place in Sherborne Abbey on Remembrance Sunday each year. 

This year was no exception, and the service was, if anything, even lovelier than usual. 

There is something very touching about the raising and lowering of the battle standards, and something very splendid about the tableau in this wonderful building, so connected with eight centuries of British history.

It isn't an easy task to give an appropriate sermon on these occasions - and I have frequently been surprised by the delicacy and depth of the well-crafted homilies given to us by the speakers selected for the task by the estimable Canon Woods. 

This year, the distinguished military figure who gave the sermon lived up fully to these hopes, by sharing with the vast congregation a sequence of first-hand reports from the front line written by or to members of his own family. It all seemed vividly personal and real - not a history lesson but, rather, a fragment of living history - which is exactly what is needed on Remembrance Sunday. 

Sitting in front of me was the County's Lord Lieutenant, ramrod straight and resplendent in his uniform of blue and gold as befits the representative of the Queen in Dorset on a day that commemorates the actions of the men and women in her armed services who fought and died on her and our behalf. 

Particularly in the year of her platinum wedding anniversary, it seemed wholly right that service should be linked in this way with the Crown and hence, once again, with many centuries of our history. 

Of course, these splendid proceedings in what is probably the finest ecclesiastical building in Dorset and perhaps the finest of all the ecclesiastical buildings in the west of England, are replicated in churches and other places of worship through the length and breadth not only of our county but also of our country. And each of these other services connects in its own way with the same history, the same courage, the same sacrifice. 

The theme at Sherborne and in all of these other remembrance services is not a celebration of war, of course. Far from it. The point of all these services is to remind us of the value of peace and liberty, the very things for which those who fell laid down their lives.