Sunday, 16 November 2008

Remembrance Weekend

From 2008 Remembrance Stockholm

It was a different weekend.

I haven't been religious since I was a teenager when I was encouraged to attend both regular Sunday school and the occasional church service.

This time last year I was in Stanley Cathedral and for the first time went to a parade. I didn't really relate to the pastor, or his rather confused and rambling sermon, but I did appreciate standing there remembering the fallen.

This year I find myself in Stockholm and decided to do something a little different.

So on the Friday we attended the annual general meeting of the Ex Servicemen's Association which consisted of drinks and nibbles with the British Ambassador and his wife at their official residence followed by a sitdown meal over at the embassy.

It was my first time to meet a number of ex Servicemen of all ages and both sexes ranging from an ex Norwegian resistance fighter who escaped to England and flew Spitfires to a recently retired RMP fresh back from Iraq.

It was a good crowd and both Susie and I enjoyed ourselves. To our immense surprise we won 3rd prize in the raffle and took home a case of Spitfire beer.

Sunday saw us again back at the embassy residence saying hello to the ambassador, though not before attending the parade.

The Anglican church was beautiful and looked every part an English village church. Flags hung from the rafters, flowers adorned the pews, and everyone turned out in their Sunday best. Susie and I sat at the back next to the central aisle as I had a couple of wreaths that I wanted to lay. It had all been arranged and at the appropriate time I stepped forward and along with the British and American military attaches presented them to the pastor.

The one thing I got wrong was my wording on the cards. I had always thought that Remembrance Sunday is about remembering all the deceased from all wars. It wasn't until I was at the church and actually listened to the words for the first time I realised that in fact it's only for WWI and WWII. My wreaths were all wrong, or so I thought for about 30 seconds.

Today was for the 8 guys we left around Tumbledown and for the other 258 members of the Task Force.

So if I have offended anybody I sincerely apologise but from now on I will stand proud and remember not just those who fell in the two world wars but especially those who are a little closer to me.

From 2008 Remembrance Stockholm

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