Last week I asked the gentleman selling poppies in the supermarket foyer if there would still be a gathering at the Memorial today.
He said there would be no parade or service as there had been in recent years, but nobody could stop anybody from turning up on Sunday to pay their respects.
I missed last year’s service as I had just come out of hospital so Hubby went up on his own.
The first year we were here, we stood in the rain with about 200 others, sang, and recited The Lord’s Prayer, then stood in two minutes silence. In 2018, we gathered with a similar number in warm winter sunshine to pay our respects, a special tribute to mark the centennial of the end of WW1.
Some unfeeling bar steward tried to get Remembrance Day cancelled this year, using Covid-19 as an excuse. If that had happened, it would have never been reinstated, as it is yet another tradition that certain minorities want to see discontinued.
Well, it’s not going to happen.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2. Hubby and I went up to the Memorial this morning and stood, socially distant, from at least 60 other people. All were masked, many in uniform to lay wreaths, and there were two Standard bearers.
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)
No service maybe, but respect by the ton. Medals gleaming, caps ‘just so’, honour in abundance.
I watched the wreaths being laid by the usual government parties and the Mayor, one by the RAF, Army, and Navy, the fire and ambulance services, a couple of local charities, then some private tributes. It was an old soldier that broke me….. at least 90 years of age, hardly able to walk unaided, but insistent and proud to be laying his wreath himself, standing to attention, and I cried.
I took these pictures on my phone, the first really since I had to replace it.
Coming home in the car, there was a service on the radio and we recited The Lord’s Prayer, then sang along to our National Anthem. The tears started again, and the only thing I can think of that made me so emotional today was because so much is changing in the world as we know it. Our veterans who fought in the wars, not just the World Wars, but other conflicts, are reducing in number as age and death claim them, the families that were shattered then, and now, bereft having lost brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters, giving the ultimate for their beliefs, their country, and freedom.