At 11am on Remembrance Sunday, people met at War Memorials across Britain. This year in Clacton and in Harwich, the civilians included groups of residents and staff from a number of care homes.
At 11am on Remembrance Sunday the population of Britain was represented around War Memorials in every village, town and city. With synchronised precision the trumpets played, the silence pervaded, the flags saluted and the chorus "we will remember them!" pledged the gratitude of the living to those who had given their lives for our freedom. The Nation was united in the annual, solemn demonstration.
This year the co-ordination extended, in Clacton and in Harwich, to include groups of residents and staff from a number of care homes. The local Fire Brigades had arranged the transporting and escorting, with their Cadets on hand to help. As this is the Centenary Year the initiative was all the more significant.
The seniors greatly appreciated being part of the live event, one with the Country united in dignified and reverent presence. They were subsequently taken to the Fire Stations for tea, home-made cake and lively conversation, and felt most warmly welcomed!
Some comments illustrate how valued was the experience: 99year old Eric, although feeling unwell as he got off the bus, refused to return forthwith to the care home with the sympathetic carer.
"I have fought my way through Burma and Borneo and I`m not going to miss what might be my last chance to remember and honour my fallen comrades."
Eve, suffering from early-stage dementia, said "My mother often told me of this Service. I am proud and pleased to actually attend." Having forgotten her previous experiences, she found the day exciting and stimulating.
Another ex-soldier who had never missed attending now could only watch on TV. He was immensely gratified to be physically present at the War Memorial again.
Mike had been a Firefighter in Dovercourt. Once a skilful boxer and keen sportsman, he now has Alzheimer's and is confined to a care home. He was overjoyed to be sitting once again in his old mess room, enjoying refreshments with those he thought were his old Watch mates!
All the generous people, particularly the Fire Service, who made possible the inclusion of the senior citizens may be justly proud of the effect. The caring and mutually-supportive spirit so alive on this day is part of our heritage for which those who gave their lives in numerous wars have fought.