The place is set, the table linen crisp and spotless.
The best china, glassware and cutlery is laid out.
The meat is carved and served on a silver platter.
Vegetables in waiting steam under glass lids .
Condiments stand to attention in the centre.
Everyone takes their place, and bows their head.
Prayers and thanks are offered.
Glasses are raised and a toast made.
This was my vision today as I stood amongst several hundred people gathered for the Remembrance Parade and Service at the Cross at the end of the High Street.
Young, old, veterans, armed forces, service volunteers, guides, brownies, cub scouts, we all stood together, each with our own private thoughts.
The Last Post and Abide with Me never fail to affect me, never stop the tears form.
I have no-one lost in conflict to remember as so many did today.
I am sure my grandfathers and great grandfathers served and although my Dad joined the army as a young man, he was only 10 when war broke out, so was raised by his aunts.
My late father in law served and this year our bought poppy adorns the boat. He would’ve been chuffed as rocks about that.
Hubby was surprised I knew the words to one hymn, but I could only recall the first verse. The other I also knew but could only hum along as the words failed me.
The prayers offered up for those no longer with us, and the words ‘An Empty Place’ triggered my image.
So many families affected by loved ones not coming home.
So many empty places around the family table.
So many lives lost.
So many and such sacrifice, for people like me.
We must remember them, even if the fallen are not our family.
We must offer our respect in their honour and remember them all.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Extract from The Fallen, by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)