Sunday, 11 November 2007
Act of Remembrance (Or did some of us forget something?)
The church service this year was excellent, as always, with a packed church and fitting service for the occasion. The sermon was profound, reminding us of the price we have paid for freedom over the years. Four thousand deaths a week during the Great War 1914 - 1918, and 1500 deaths a week during World War II. The Garrison Sergeant Major was the man of the moment, stepping in last minute with bagpipes to play a lament in place of the bugler who could not attend due to a family crisis.
A few things disappointed me however. Bearing in mind a Labour Government is responsible for sending troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, it was a shock to me that not one of the six Aldershot Labour Councillor's attended the Service, especially at a time we are sustaining regular casualties in these two locations. Was it too much of an effort? Maybe they simply forgot. Was it too much to expect just one of their councillors to attend this important Service?
The other thing that disappointed me was the march past. In the "Home of the British Army" all that could be mustered for the parade was a Sea Cadet Band from HMS Swiftshore(very good one I might add), our veterans (with a healthy contingent of red berets), a squadron of Air Cadets (very smart), and finally the Garrison Sergeant Major (the only serving soldier in the parade). With so many commitments I can understand why numbers of troops for the parade were limited, but this was ridiculous. It was, however, a shame that there were no scouts, guides or Army cadets.
All I can say is thank goodness for the Garrison Sergeant Major..
Joining soldiers for lunch after the service, reminded me that we must not forget the living either. Every year we remember those that have died, but do we forget those that have served Queen and Country and are now trying to live? What are we as a Council that represents a Garrison Town doing? How can we do more, for those that serve and are prepared to give all?
Well one thing we could do is give ex service personnel extra points on our housing waiting list, we could give them discounts on Council facilities, we could look at a number of ways that this Borough shows its gratitude, not just for those that give their lives, but for those left to live their lives.