Armistice Day 2018 remembered
I set my alarm for 6.00am and I was thankful that the torrential rain that had persisted for the previous 24 hours had given way to bright sunshine.
The Home’s minibus made an early start to ensure we arrived at our meeting point in The Mall in time to rendezvous with veterans from all over the country. I felt fortunate having to travel only a few miles as some veterans had much longer journeys.
We were issued with arm bands and blankets to keep the residents warm in the waiting area in Horse Guards Parade, prior to the procession down Whitehall.
Exactly 100 years since the guns fell silent we were startled by the sound of the canon followed by the bongs of Big Ben which announced the 2 minutes’ silence on 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 2018.
We viewed the ceremonial laying of wreaths at the Cenotaph on giant TV screens, taking particular interest as Ned had been selected to carry the wreath of The Royal Star & Garter Home.
The moment arrived for us to join the parade, and we were thrilled to be greeted by a cheering crowd of spectators who lined the route, even the police were waving and clapping as we progressed to The Cenotaph.
Within the hour we were back at the minibus, chatting about the morning’s events and enjoying our packed lunch and flasks of hot drinks, and exchanging greetings with some of the 10,000 participants of the people’s procession who were about to embark on their own march past.
We headed back to Surbiton, arriving somewhat later than expected thanks to an unscheduled stop at a garage to deal with an overheated radiator. Nevertheless the day was hugely memorable and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to accompany my father on such a moving anniversary to honour our brave fallen, and to be able to say again – ‘We will remember them’.