‘There seem to be more of us these days’ Gerry Stacey said to me. And its true. There was a stage, when my generation was growing up, when shame about Empire and the diminishing memories of the First and Second World Wars meant that attending Remembrance Services and seeing out the two minutes at the Village epitaph were definitely in decline.
However in 2017 it is clear that the Fallen are being remembered more now than at any time in my adult life. Perhaps it is what is taught in schools, perhaps it is the more recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq on the news. Perhaps its what Help for Heroes has done in the popular imagination for the reputation of servicemen and women. But there is an effect and we saw it this weekend – twenty or more standing in the freezing November wind at each of the war memorials at Itchen Abbas, Avington and Martyr Worthy and perhaps 100 at Easton.
It was wonderful to have a group of serving and retired guardsmen from the last 20 years or so staying with a recently arrived Grenadier Guard sporting their bowler hats and furled umbrellas in true Household Division style and reducing the average age of our Royal British Legion contingent by about a quarter!
At the other extreme Sergeant Jessica in her Air Cadets uniform laying a wreath and the Sea Cadets on the invitation of Rear Admiral Lang who was leading the parade made it a Tri Service event!
A wonderful and moving service led by Revd Amanda Denniss our Rector, even if we did have a couple of false starts on the hymn Valiant Hearts it was made even more moving by being sung a cappella! A really wonderful morning.