Remembrance Sunday

Though we only spoke to a handful of people on the train, it really did feel as though we were joining the thousands who were descending upon London for the Remembrance weekend. On the Sunday morning we made our way through the underground to Whitehall, not realising that all taxi rides were being offered free to veterans and those taking part in the procession and service. That shows the respect that London holds for this national occasion.

Remembrance service at the Cenotaph 13-11-16

Remembrance service at the Cenotaph 13-11-16

It is an honour to represent your country in anything – whether as an athlete, or even an entrant to the Eurovision Song Contest.  How much more the honour to represent your country in the armed forces or in the diplomatic corps. And so there gathered thousands of service men and women, and veterans from this country and across the Commonwealth. And at the Cenotaph were ambassadors and High Commissioners, politicians and Faith Leaders there to lay wreaths and honour those who lay down their lives for their country. There was I, given the privilege of representing our denomination to remember all who have served their country and those still serving today.

This really hit me when we sang the national anthem. Behind me were rows of sailors who sang with a gusto and commitment I have never heard before – as though they wanted her majesty to hear their personal deep commitment to her, not only our head of state but also head of the armed forces.

The journey home was a nightmare. With trains cancelled from King’s Cross we had to travel via Manchester to anywhere in the north. So we spent the journey, like sardines sitting on our suitcases and right next to a toilet door. It was uncomfortable and sweaty, yet it engendered a ‘war-time’ spirit of jokes and songs, and when one old veteran threw up everywhere, we all mucked in to help clear up. It really did remind me of the stories I was brought up on of life in wartime Britain. At Leeds we only had a ten minute journey to Wakefield, when this train tragically killed someone on the line. Once again, we were severely delayed, but how different the atmosphere, as everyone was traumatised, and there a reminder of the tragedy of loss of life in all wars, and how everyone is affected by that loss.



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