Remembering the past and the present day

PUBLISHED: 16:51 15 November 2007 | UPDATED: 15:19 12 May 2010

Public showed a polite reserve’

Public showed a polite reserve’

TO remember those who gave their lives today in the armed services as well as in the past was the crux of the Remembrance Day parade in Royston on Sunday. In an address delivered to hundreds of people gathered around the Royston war memorial, the Rev Lesl

Pics: Daniel Wilson

TO remember those who gave their lives today in the armed services as well as in the past was the crux of the Remembrance Day parade in Royston on Sunday.

In an address delivered to hundreds of people gathered around the Royston war memorial, the Rev Leslie Harman stressed that the list of those killed stretched from the current world situations to times in the last century.

He said "Today we will remember them.

"We go back in history to the wars of the 20th century, but also we come to the present day and remember our Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and we think of the daily risks they are taking on our behalf," he said.

The Rev Harman said that there was just "polite reserve" from the public as a whole when the Royal Anglian Regiment returned recently after a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

This was a tour of duty in which nine members of the regiment were killed and 57 wounded.

But in re-calling the words of one of the men who had led the regiment during its part in the war on terror, the Rev Harman said general awareness of the situation there was limited.

"Those nine and those killed in Iraq in recent years become included in the list we commemorate," said the Rev Harman.

And he continued: "If we support what the armed services are doing in those countries and elsewhere then perhaps we have failed to show sufficiently our backing for their cause and an interest in their well-being.

"Imagine how dispiriting it must be for members of the Armed Forces to return from a tour of duty to find most people getting on with their lives with no thought to what is happening and indifferent to the daily danger of service personnel," he said.

The Rev Harman continued that people could easily detach themselves from the situation when "our soldiers are fighting on a foreign field".

"It's much easier then to say that we have no responsibility to those who have lost their lives."

To emphasise his point, the Rev Harman said it was courageous to use the word of poet John Donne's that no man is an island.

The wreath laying ceremony was led by the Mayor of Royston, Cllr Peter Lill, the chairman of North Herts District Council, Cllr Alan Bardett, the deputy Lord Lieutenant of Herts, Neville Reyner CBE and Lt Col Nigel Smith, commanding officer at Bassingbourn Barracks.

The Minden Band led the parade of veterans and organisations to the war memorial.

- Earlier wreaths were laid at the American War Memorial in the Priory Memorial Gardens by Cllr Lill, Chris Murphy, parade director of the Royston branch of the Royal British Legion and a US serviceman from Lakenheath.

- In Buntingford,wreaths were laid by the deputy mayor, Cllr Surjit Basra, on behalf of the Commonwealth.

The parade was attended by CSM Joe Ellis, an ex-member of the Buntingford Army Cadets who is now a regular and has served with the Army in Iraq.

- Oliver Heald, the MP for North-east Herts, attended the Remembrance Service at Baldock.

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