By the time I finish this, Remembrance Day will be fading. I am in a new city, starting a new job tomorrow, and it has been an overall hectic weekend. My plan was to attend the commemoration in Salisbury, and immediately afterwards to head for Basingstoke. The weather on Saturday had been wet and cold and I was really worried that the day would be rained out. However, like last year in Southampton, the sun graced us with its light. It was a glorious, if not slightly chilly day.
The Wreath Laying would take place outside the Guildhall and at the War Memorial on the market square. Because of its placing I have always struggled to get decent images of the war memorial. Usually the sun rises behind it so any morning shots just don’t work, and then it gets really busy around here and there are gazillions of people around. I guess I have always been meaning to get better shots, but I never have.
Because of my moving I arrived just as the column of old soldiers and servicemen and women were moving off and there were crowds lining the streets to see them go. Poppies (and puppies) abounded.
The crowd around the memorial was 5 deep in places, and security was everywhere. I have to admit that I was glad to see so many parents bringing their children along, and how many were wearing their poppies with pride.
And once the columns had arrived, the dignitaries came out of the Guildhall and joined the ceremony. It was not a long drawn out one, but the poignant call of The Last Post made everybody aware that we were here at a special time, and that there were no old soldiers from the First World War to join in.
After the 2 minute silence there was the Kohima Epitaph, which really sums it all up.
When you go home
Tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our today.
After the official wreaths were laid, and the soldiers and scouts marched off, it was time to approach the memorial and if need be pay our own tribute.
The memorial was bedecked with the familiar red and black wreaths that are used on these occasions. And there was a green poppy field to plant any poppy crosses on.
I laid a cross to represent my family members who had served, and for the friends that lost their lives in the border war. They are the ones I remember. Each of those small plywood crosses represents many things, but often it is tangible link between those today and those who never came back.
And then it was time to go, I had a train to catch and I would be leaving this city where I have lived for just under a year to start anew elsewhere. But I left a small part of me behind, and when I pass this way next weekend I shall stop and check on the memorial, and hopefully it will still be bright and filled with the reminders of those who went before.
In memory of Robert Owen Turner, Herbert Turner, David Walker, Mathys Slabbert, Lionel Van Rooyen, Johan Potgieter, Peter Hall and Hennie Van Der Colff.
DRW © 2014-2022. Created 09/11/2014. Images recreated 20/04/2016