Remembrance weekend games hold a special significance in the English Premier League calendar. On the closest weekend to Nov. 11 every year, a minute's silence is held before the kick off of every Football League game to honour those who have died in conflicts both past and present.
There is something incredibly powerful about tens of thousands of people falling completely silent to remember those who laid down their lives, so that they could continue to gather together in such great numbers to watch a game of football.
Without the sacrifices these men have made, we would be unlikely to have such freedom. This mark of respect is even more special at Stamford Bridge, where the Chelsea Pensioners are such a big part of the club's history.
The Chelsea Pensioners are retired service personnel who are resident at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. Founded in 1682 as a home for injured and retired soldiers, it has been a constant refuge for these military men for over 300 years. It has always had a strong connection with Chelsea FC since the club's foundation in 1905.
A grinning Chelsea Pensioner adorned the club's first crest and there are always a few scarlet coats at a home game. When on hospital grounds, the Pensioners wear an all blue uniform, as the Chelsea players do.
It is only when travelling further afield that the famous scarlet coats are worn. In the 2010/11 season, the club honoured their connection to the Pensioners by adding a red trim to the collar of the team's traditionally all-blue kit.
When Chelsea won the league for the first time in 50 years in 2004/05, the players and staff were greeted by a guard of honour formed by the Pensioners.
Every year at Stamford Bridge, around the second weekend of November, the Pensioners are honoured in the same way, with Chelsea and opposition players alike standing tall to honour the contribution these men have made to securing our freedom, and to remember those who fought alongside them and did not return.
On this weekend, every year, we will remember them.
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