On a chilly November morning I headed into the centre of Norwich. This time I was not in uniform and not going there to form up, but to be part of the crowd gathering to pay their respects, carrying my camera to capture the moment. The forecast was good, November can have such varied weather but in all the years I attended Remembrance Parades, I can only remember it raining once.
This year was much like the many previous years, a large crowd, a religious service outside of City Hall and City dignitaries present to show their respect. First past the memorial was the marching band ringing out the pace for others to follow. Then came the standards and veterans followed by serving military, regular and reserve; finally, the cadet from all military arms.
Once the parade was formed up the religious service and laying of wreaths began accompanied only by the fluttering of the flags as they were snatched at by the growing breeze.
After a short service the sound of the last post echoed through the streets and silence fell. There is a profound and resonating feeling when a large crowd of people and a city falls silent. It is hard not to reflect on the reason why everyone came together on this cold November morning; to think of all that has been lost by so many and the knowledge that these sacrifices will continue to be needed. For me remembrance Sunday is about reflecting on the impact of war and conflict on everyone, irrespective of the side they fought for and who or what ideology led them onto the field only to not return or return forever changed, mentally and physically. To me this day is important to show respect but also to serve as a reminder to our society of the cost of war, to not lightly enter into conflict no matter the rhetoric. The most important reason for me is to be proud; proud that if the call is given there are people who are willing to step into the line for me.
The parade marched through the City and down into the cathedral where I was lucky enough to catch up with a few people I hadn’t seen for a while. Unfortunately, only official photographers were able to take photos during the ceremony in the cathedral but this gave me a chance to put the camera aside and take part.