We left the house at 10:30 am to walk to the War Memorial. The weather was wet and cold. The rain fell steadily, chilling those who gathered and shorting the PA system.
A Remembrance Day service at the War Memorial and afterwards in the small local theatre (kindly leant and ecclesiastically neutral) is a feature of our small town life. Local businesses close for the latter part of the morning. Children are let out of school. The community gathers.
At the War Memorial, there was the singing of ‘Oh Canada’, the reading of the names of those from the town killed in the First or Second World Wars, the Last Post, two minutes of silence at eleven, and Reveille. Then there was the laying of wreaths. At the theatre, there was a short service (I did the Invocation and Benediction this year) which was concluded with the singing of ‘God save the Queen’.
There were only three surviving veterans of the Second World War present: a man who lost a leg while fighting in Italy, and two ladies, one of whom was involved with the Special Operations Executive in some way that we still do not know. When they are gone, I do not know what will happen to Remembrance Day. Over the years that we have been in town, the number of veterans has dropped considerably; and with their passing, increasingly year by year something has been lost: connexion, relevance. What will be left when all ‘the boys of the old Brigade’ are gone?