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The Somerset Guardian, 16th November 2022

Last Sunday, on Remembrance Day, I was enormously privileged to be invited to the parade at Midsomer Norton. In the last few years I attended parades at Whitehall in my role as a Government Minister. This was an extraordinary honour but it feels right to be back with the local community in the constituency to pay my respects to the fallen.
Proceedings began at half past ten in the morning where contingents arrived at Midsomer Norton Social Club before forming the parade. Once assembled, the parade marched to the war memorial and just before eleven o’clock, the remembrance service began.

As the final notes of the Last Post drifted away the two minute silence began. One hundred years ago, wives, girlfriends, parents and children would have thought of their recent loss. The injured and the survivors would have remembered fallen comrades. Now, most focus on the concept as few have direct memories but the poignancy is still considerable, especially this year with a brutal war being fought in Ukraine. How thin the veneer of peace is.

The upbeat sound of “Reveille” ended the silence and it was followed by the laying of wreaths. At eleven-thirty, the group marched to St. John’s Church for the usual service which was conducted with great dignity with well known hymns, an excellent sermon and the famous words from St. John’s Gospel:“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.

The parade seemed even better attended than usual and was extremely well organised. An impressive forty-one wreaths were laid at the memorial by a full range of civic organisations.

This annual ritual is important in so many ways, not only to remember those who lost their lives in the War, defending our country, liberty and democracy but also to reflect upon current conflicts that are causing people to die so cruelly.

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