As a child I heard many stories about the war, every year silver haired veterans would stand by a wreath alongside the Queen at a ceremony each November in London. As a child I didn’t really like watching the ceremony due to the sadness etched on everyone’s face, it was a time where the TV was switched very quickly to a more child orientated programme.
My attitude changed whilst working in Westminster a few years ago, we were asked if we wanted to walk down to the memorial and partake in the ceremony I said yes, I mean what harm could it be. What was interesting was just that very year my father had told me that my Grandfather had fought in the 1st world war, he was a Commonwealth solider that was drafted from the Caribbean to fight in the Somme. Suddenly it became all to real for me, I decided to go to the ceremony not only for my grandfather but for all those young men who had given their lives for Queen and Country.
It was a week day and I remember taking the short walk to the Cenotaph a large crowd had gathered many where the silver haired veterans that I had seen on the TV I looked closely in the crown and I saw much older frail gentlemen some being minded by their carers. I watched in awe at these old frail men many of whom were in their last years or maybe months of life, they had manged to make their way to the memorial to remember the harrowing ordeal of the war, I am sure as they waited memories of their friends whom had lost their lives, maybe even the sounds of the sirens, the many injured, and the dead came flooding back, I assumed that the much older men were from the first world war
These brave men whom fought for a Country that is now …today ‘broken’ , I thought of my own Grandfather whom went to war proud, for a Queen and Country he had never been too, a country where eventually his son and grandchildren would settle. A country that is bitter towards his son and grandchildren and often wants them to leave and ‘go back to their own country’, a country that is intolerant of Mass immigration, a country where bullets often fly, crack needles litter the street, people are out of work..he fought strong and hard and lost his eye to the country his children now called home the country paved with that imaginary Gold.
My thoughts were broken by a wail in the crowd, I looked to see the frail old man in his wheelchair crying uncontrollably, crying with pain, and heartache, crying from the memories of the war. The minute silence had begun and all that could be heard was this old man, whom once had dreams, aspirations to make sure Britain was free……Thank you Veterans
Thank you Grandad
And Thank you Old mad with dreams of a free word.