16th Novemver 2021

According to the media ten thousand veterans marched past the Cenotaph during this years Remembrance parade, marking the anniversary of the nearest available Sunday morning to the Eleventh of November, the actual date forever marked to celebrate Armistice Day.

That bare number of civilian participating in the parade is remarkable in itself but inaccurate in several vital ingredients. Anyone studiously observing the event would have noticed a good number of the throng were disabled, either riding in self-propelled chairs or being pushed in wheelchairs by other attendees. Also the ten thousand throng were made up of a mixture of retired service personnel, children and adolescents of both sexes, and a multitude of civilian women, the purpose of these latter two groups being to represent familial servicepeople whom had died whilst in uniform or since the period they spent in the armed forces.

Yet still the sight of ten thousand private citizens marching in unison for but one purpose, to memorialize the fallen, was wonderous to any soul whom cared to watch the more than hour long spectacle, me included, viewing from the comparative comfort of mine chair overlooking the live feed upon my laptop.

I have viewed, or participated in the spectacle all of my life, marveling that the solemnity nor popularity of the occasion has not diminished in the least, in fact has in recent years, through a very noticeable chance in the participants, gained a poignancy far deeper and more heart rending than ever before. My Father participated attended, participated, and viewed before me, both in memory of his own antecedents and contemporary fallen colleagues up to the very year he joined their number. To this very day I strain to see his chiseled face amongst the participants wearing the red beret he donned so proudly in war and peace.

When I first can recall witnessing the parade the Second world war was but eight or nine years passed, and all of the marchers were demobbed or retired servicemen, with very obvious reasons for attendance, sorrow and regret. Camaraderie is most important to the ex-military, and such occasions are the very nature of amity. Over the years the base make up changes, from natural causes, by the year two thousand and seven the last participant from the First world war had passed, and many from the Second would follow all too shortly. This year the men who fought in Korea, Suez, and the jungles of the far East are the elder veterans, their numbers numerically all but outweighed by those of the Mideast Conflicts.

All Service personnel are now equally represented, the feminine and LGBTQ participation in the armed forces having been at last honestly and publicly recognized, as should always have been. Equality amongst the serving and fallen has finally been admitted and recognized.

I remember attending the nineteen ninety- nine event and wondering how much longer this glorious but dated dinosaur could survive. The answer after another two decades appears to be forever. Stronger, larger, more poignant, the National Day of Remembrance, as was, as is, as should be.

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