I was determined to go to the Remembrance Day service at the war memorial yesterday. It was a sort of tribute to my Dad who used to go every year.
As a child, I used to go with him. We would go to the 11am Mass and at about quarter to twelve, we would leave as we heard the paradge pass the church on its way to the memorial in the park. I used to be allowed to wear my Grandad’s medals. I found it all very exciting and grown-up.
Last year, Dad got up and went to the service. I thought about going with him like old times but decided on a lie-in instead. You see, when you don’t think you are going to lose somebody, there is always next year. Of course, regular readers know that died in September and I am ashamed that he attended his last Remembrance Day service alone.
I woke early yesterday and almost talked myself out of going. It would inevitably be upsetting as these things are but particularly so this year.
I went upstairs and woke the family and said that I thought we should go as a family. My daughter announced, “I’m going to do the 2 minute silence in bed”. Not the best of starts.
We all put on our poppies with the exception of my youngest son who threw a total fit. He did not want to go as it would make him sad. My husband set off with the other two children and we followed on behind after a ten minute discussion on why Remembrance Day was important.
We arrived and the service began. My youngest son was stropping right up to the silence when I prayed to my Dad that he would keep the silence. He did albeit with the odd head butt into my arm.
Part way through the silence a car blared out music and the assembled crowd tutted and shook their heads. Three teenagers pushed their way through the crowds keen to be on their way. My son was clearly unhappy and rather than upset the folks around us, we headed home just before the end of the service. I was cross and told my son so.
When we got home, I had a restorative cuppa and a thought popped into me head.
Just maybe, one of the freedoms the veterans fought for was the one to not mark Remembrance Day and to make our own choices.
Having said that, I am pleased that I made things up to my Dad this year.
My Dad was proud to serve his country in the Royal Navy during and after World War Two.
Here he is doing his training at H M S Royal Arthur otherwise known as Butlins Skegness.