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Poppy Man

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On behalf of the whole nation....

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Afternoon everyone,

Two minutes of silence. It seemed like such a small amount of time to give for those who have died for us. Hardly anything at all, though even those 120 seconds were something very special. Of course I'm talking about the Remembrance Day parade to the Cenotaph yesterday. Did anyone manage to attend or perhaps catch it on television?

I was amazed by the sheer number of onlookers who came along to Whitehall - the crowds were 10 deep, and the parade took 50 minutes to march past the Cenotaph! So nice to see so many children, too.

The music by the band was incredibly rousing and kept the crowds (loads of them had arrived extra early to ensure a good view!) entertained until the time came for the Queen to be joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Prince William to lay commerotative wreaths at the foot of the monument. The Royal Family stood in silence at the eleventh hour alongside 8,000 veterans from 200 regiments. I think they were remembering that everyone is touched by war in some way, and in the 90 years since the end of the First World War the list of those who have since died is long. Far too long in my book! And it was supposed to be the war to end all wars...
The service therefore honoured those who served in the First and Second World Wars as well as those who have died more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After the thoughtful quiet everyone cheered as the marchers went on to lay their own wreaths - these included the Chelsea Pensioners, nurses and firefighters, Bevin Boys in miners' hats and a squadron of Royal British Legion members in motorised wheelchairs.

And proving the point that it's never too late to attend, this was Arthur Hillman's first Remembrance Day parade. Arthur is a Second World War veteran and at 98 he'd never before gone along to a Poppy Day service - because incredibly he had never considered himself to be very much a hero. It was only after the death of his wife that he decided to join the Royal British Legion and allow himself to celebrate his achievements. He said just before the event: "I never did anything heroic like rescuing soldiers or anything like that. I'm determined and a very independent person but I'm also quite modest and that's partly the reason why I didn't wear the medals. I am looking forward to the parade but I expect it to be emotional."

Services also took place in Iraq and at Kandahar, the UK's largest military base in Afghanistan.

Let me know if you were there...

Poppy Man

Posted by PoppyMan

10th Nov 2008, 14:13   | tags:,,,

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