A SPECIAL VE Day parade was held in Bromsgrove town centre today (Sunday), followed by a special service at the monument in Crown Close.
Those marching included members of Bromsgrove Royal British Legion (RBL) and its women’s section, the army and navy, the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA), the Burma Star Association, the Far East Prisoner of War Association, West Mercia Police, MP Sajid Javid, Bromsgrove Civic Head John Ruck, councillors, the Bromsgrove Lions and the Bromsgrove Court Leet. There were also war veterans, including a 99-year-old who fought in the Burma conflict.
After gathering outside Argos those marching, led by a military vehicle, paraded down the High Street.
They gave an ‘eyes left’ at the Odd Fellows Memorial before heading down Church Street.
There, representatives of Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service joined the procession to Crown Close where Rev Ray Khan gave a moving service – his first civic ceremony since taking up the role on St George’s Day (April 23).
The service at the new monument began with opening prayers and the singing of ‘Make Me a Channel of your Peace’.
After more prayers and the Lord’s Prayer, there was then the Act of Remembrance.
The Exhortation was poignantly punctuated with the Last Post and Reveille, either side of a two-minute silence.
The bugle was impressively played by Rev Khan.
After that, there was the Kohima Epitath and laying of wreaths by those who had paraded through the town.
Rev Khan spoke about the ending of the Second World War and, more importantly, the 70 years of peace that had followed.
During his address, he said: “Any idiot can start a fight, but it takes a a man of courage to make peace.”
He praised all those who had made the ultimate sacrifice for the peace we enjoy today and said he felt the best way for people to honour what they achieved would be to always make sure peace was at the centre of their own lives.
The service concluded with the singing of Jerusalem and the National Anthem and a blessing, before the parade was dismissed.
Patrick Smith, the chairman of the Royal British Legion, said he felt the parade and service went really well.
“Of course, there were not as many people here today as there were on Remembrance Sunday, but it was still a good turn-out.
“There were a few surprised faces when the vicar started playing the bugle as well.”
Rev Khan added he enjoyed leading his first civic service in the town.
“I think it was great that the people gathered here for this, from military and civic backgrounds and residents who came along.”
And Mr Javid, fresh from his election victory on Thursday, said: “It was a very moving service, but a very fitting tribute to all those people who sacrificed so much so we can enjoy our freedom today.”
On Rev Khan, he added: “The new vicar is multi-talented – so many people have remarked that, even in the short time he has been here, he has already made such a great impression as he did so today.
“Not only by giving the service, but also by playing the bugle as well.”
A RBL stall on Bromsgrove Market on Saturday made £247.50 for the cause.