In the remarkable and worrying times in which we now live, there are few constants remaining. One of those that has sustained, but in a very different – and somehow more starkly appropriate form – is the annual act of community Remembrance across not just our local area, but our country as a whole.
With the restrictions on social gatherings and social distance, traditional parades, wreath-laying and even poppy sales have been cancelled, scaled down or changed format totally.
The determination of our communities to honour those that served, properly and appropriately was fired, and most churches and relevant organisations have posted wreath-laying and Remembrance services online, and they’ve all been excellent.
To kick off, here’s Brownhills recorded Act of Remembrance, featuring our new Vicar, the Reverend Gayle Greenway who I’d like to welcome to the Parish. We’ve been far too long without an incumbent. Welcome to Brownhills, Reverend.
My thanks and respect to all who took part and worked hard to make this film and ceremony possible. I know readers will appreciate it. You can catch up with events at St. James and Holy Trinity Clayhanger on their website here, or on Facebook here.
There’s also an evening Reflection and Prayer Service being broadcast on Facebook by St. James this evening at 6:30pm. You can catch it if you’re quick by clicking here.
Whilst there was no public official Sunday service, at memorials across the area, people did turn out to remember and lay wreaths in respectful and careful social distance. One such spontaneous event occurred this morning at Brownhills and I was contacted by old friend John Bird of Brownhills Royal British Legion who had this to say:
Remembrance Sunday 8th. Nov. 2020.
As we are all aware, with current restrictions due to the Pandemic, there was no Official Remembrance Sunday Parade or Service at local Venues.
However, I felt a personal need to visit St. James’ church to spend a few moments at the Cenotaph to show my respects. At almost 11-00am it was clear that quite a number of people had had the same idea, as approxiamately 200 to250 were now in attendance on the site around the Cenotaph.
I was so impressed how disciplined everyone appeared to behave, ensuring Social Distancing and respect for the occasion.
Suddenly, the whole gathering, voluntarily, fell still and silent at 11:00am without any prompting.
How moving those few moments became. This was followed by the laying of wreaths by various representatives of different organisations all of which was completely unrehearsed and spontaneous.
May I take this moment to say a big thank you to all who attended for the discipline and respect shown. One had to be present to appreciate just how moving this spontaneous event was.
Thank you John: As thoughtful and eloquent as ever. My thanks to you for such a lovely, proud and heartfelt message. My respect to all at the Legion.
Thank you to everyone involved in Remembrance this year – it has been like no other and yet our communities have done those that gave their all proud. We will remember them, whatever restrictions we find ourselves under, because we know theirs were so much, much greater.
As I locate other community remembrance videos, I’ll post them up.