We’ve been with our friends in Lancashire this weekend, to hear a performance by the Lytham St Annes Choral Society. Post concert supper and chatter usually makes for a late night and a Sunday morning stroll along the seafront has become part of the routine.
This Sunday morning was rather different though, because instead of taking our seafront walk, we decided to join the community Remembrance event in the park. The seafront and the area in front of the pier was the assembly point for the procession to the war memorial and seeing the numbers of people gathering there, we thought we’d head straight for the park and await their arrival.
It’s a beautiful park and the war memorial is a stunning centrepiece. Our walks have often taken us through the gardens and back through the town and we always admire the immaculate maintenance and real spirit of community which is apparent here. Yesterday, however, we found ourselves with rather more people than we’d expected, for this service of remembrance was going to be very well supported.
We found ourselves a great spot on a little hill overlooking the memorial – references to Spion Kop came to our minds, the original being perhaps a little more relevant than how it’s more usually used today.
We were standing behind a small family, who well represented the crowd who’d gathered there, because it wasn’t only the old-timers and the community groups who’d turned out for this event and by the time we heard the drum beat of the band leading the procession, it was hard to see where everyone was going to fit in.
But squeeze in they did and with a bit of shuffling and side-stepping, all were assembled, ready to begin with precision timing. The Chaplain said a prayer, a hymn was sung (to the accompaniment of a superb brass band) and we listened to a Bible reading. There remained just time for “an older person” and “a younger person” to lead the Act of Remembrance, the bugler to play the Last Post and the two minutes silence at 11am precisely.
As we stood watching the wreaths being laid, others were standing to pay their respect from the steps of the care homes and hotels across the road. I knew that my friend Maureen would be laying a wreath of poppies on behalf of my WI at the war memorial in the small Norman church at home and that all over the country, at this very moment, others were standing quietly watching, thinking.