THERE was another bumper turn-out to the annual Bromsgrove Remembrance Sunday parade and service with the commemorations getting bigger year-on-year.
Despite a spot of drizzle just as the parade was about to move off at 10.30am the sun came out for the proceedings which were attended by the Deputy Lieutenant of Worcestershire Patricia Bradbury.
The parade, led by military vehicles, featured representatives from military organisations, such as the Royal British Legion, Mercian Regiment, Royal Air Force Association and cadet corps.
Also present was West Mercia Police officers, Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid and a representatives from a host of other organisations, including the Cubs, Scouts, Guides, Rainbows, Bromsgrove Lions, Court Leet and Bromsgrove District Council.
This year there was 12 standards on parade. It was also the last for the Bromsgrove RBL Women’s Section with the unit amalgamating with the men’s in the new year.
After giving an ‘eyes left’ at the Odd Fellows Memorial, the procession journeyed down Church Street and up to the War Monument.
There Rev Ray Khan, the vicar of St John’s Church and the RBL, led the service with bugler Archie Holder from Bromsgrove School playing the Last Post.
After the Exhortation, there was a wonderfully observed two-minute silence, followed by the Kohima Epitaph and the laying of the wreaths.
Hymns were sang and there were prayers and an address from Rev Khan.
He said: “This morning we remember those who were willing to and those who did give up their lives for others.
“We remember families and loved ones who still grieve this day and whose broken hearts are filled with pride and questions.”
He spoke of those who gave their lives, those who lost limbs and urged everyone to remember the sacrifice they made.
Rev Khan also praised those in Bromsgrove who volunteered their services for the good of the town and its community organisations.
“We depend on them and they in turn depend on you. And that dependence makes us all friends.
“Remembrance is more than just wearing a poppy, it is about remembering those who give and died for this land and their friends.
“Remembrance is more than just a moment in time, it is about how we honour that memory and sacrifice.
“Remembrance is not about war, but rather about how we make peace and how we build a better society.
“Today I ask you to consider a question once asked by a past American president: ‘Ask not what your country can give you, but what you can give to your country.
“We remember those who gave and we can honour that memory by giving ourselves in the service of others.”
After the final words and hymn, the parade fell out and there was a shorter service at St John’s Church where wreaths were laid at the memorials for those who died in the First World War and the Boer War.
Bromsgrove Town Crier Kevin Ward also recited a poem he had previously written entitled Flanders.
Deputy Lieutenant Patricia Bradbury praised everyone who made it such a memorable day, including the five army cadets who escorted her.
“It’s been a fantastic turnout by so many Bromsgrove organisations and the community.
“I’m pleased to see so many wreaths being laid.
“It is also wonderful to see so many youth organisations here.
“It is important society remembers the past so we can strive for more peace in the future and it is the young people who will do that.”
Mr Javid said: “I think it’s so lovely to see so many more people coming to our service year on year, not only taking part in the parade and service, but also remembering and reflecting on all those who gave their lives.”
Patrick Smith, the Chairman of Bromsgrove Royal British Legion, said: “It was an awesome turn-out.
“It’s bigger than ever before – I have never seen it bigger than this.
“The parade has kept growing and growing.”
And he joked: “If this keeps up, we’re going to need to find a bigger venue.”