Sunday, 8 November 2009

"Lest we forget" - how could we, watching the daily news?

Eight tiny jeeps took the veterans from the Town Hall to the War Memorial. But it's not just about the old guys and their time in the first and second world war; it's also about all the conflicts since, right up to the current day with Colchester's soldiers losing their lives in Afghanistan.

The High Street was closed to traffic, so that the space could be used for those taking part in the parade, and the onlookers. The crowd were respectfully quiet, as they watched the veterans, current soldiers, cadets and various local organisations, including The Town Watch.

A solemn ceremony at the castle park gates commemorated the fallen, a very moving experience. The band played Elgar's Nimrod magnificently, full of restraint and masterfully maintaining the requisite slow pace. The last post and silence followed the Town Hall striking 11 o'clock.

The crowd reflected on the occasion, no doubt thinking about the lost comrades, families and friends. Looking back, we can all see how the events on a world stage affected the outcomes of our own lives. My father's father died in the blitz in London, so I missed him by about fifteen years. But of course, my family's history would have been completely different if the second world war had not happened. My dad wouldn't have first been evacuated to the fens, and served in the RAF, and returned to the fens where he met my mum.

Hitler invades Poland, and one of many millions of consequences is - here I am.

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