ONE of the honours of service as MSP is representing Parliament at the annual remembrance ceremonies.

This year, the last time I will have that privilege, was rather different due to coronavirus restrictions.

Nonetheless, every town and village in the county found ways to ensure that we remember those who gave their lives in service of the country, fulfilling the promise “we will remember them”.

I laid a wreath in Haddington without ceremony, but with the Lord Lieutenant and the Provost, then attended the socially distanced service in St Mary’s.

The church gate featured the beautiful remembrance sculpture by Felicity Haire, celebrated on the Church of Scotland’s social media, and the service included the very moving fall of poppies. Perhaps it was my imagination, or maybe just the smaller congregation, but that silence did seem even more profound than usual, and you could hear every poppy land.

There is a lesson to be had here: for no matter how difficult the restrictions we face due to Covid-19, they are nothing compared to the privations our parents and grandparents suffered through two world wars.

Yet they did come to an end, and better days did prevail, as they will I am sure with regard to the pandemic, if we support each other and do what is necessary in the meantime. There was even some hopeful news regarding a possible vaccine.

There is a cost, though, and I was pleased that the festival of remembrance broadcast acknowledged the NHS and social care frontline staff who have lost their lives to Covid in service to us all.

That same weekend saw the beginning of the end of President Trump’s term. Watching coverage, I was struck by how many Americans saw this as more than just a change of president, but rather the close of a dark chapter in their history and a victory for decency, respect and truth.

So, the message of the weekend was one of hope – that we can work through tough times, and they will end eventually.