Remembrance Day Parade 2018

'They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.'

 

The annual Remembrance Day Parade in Walsall on Sunday11th November (a special date to be sure!) was set fair to be changeable and certainly when it started to rain at 9.00am - the omens were not looking good...... and it was the sort of fine drizzle that could drench you in a heartbeat..........

But there was a bit of blue sky dotted around the sky - perhaps there was a chance?

However with normal thermals underneath, the Band assembled at about 10.00am, to prepare for one of the most important engagements of the year and certainly the most poignant. Having set the programme of marches (which doesn't take long) and organised the three hymns this year, swopped a few lyres around to fit differing fittings, the Band were ready...............

For what seemed ages the Band waited at the head of the Parade, trying to keep instruments and lips warm, still in dodgy weather that could either clear up or drop a shed load of water on us.....

It cleared up...................... phew!

Following a hearty order bellowed out, about 10.25am, the parade set off.

'The Middy' was the choice to start, as the Band googled its way through the streets, marching past the Mayor of Walsall outside the Town Hall, heading in the direction of the Cenotaph, with lots of people lining the streets as always.

'Colonel Bogey' took us through the throngs (and there were loads of them as always) surrounding the Cenotaph, before the Band reverted to its normal formation to accompany the Service, under Conductor, Craig Williams.

The sun had come out to watch!

The Service included the hymns, 'Praise my Soul the King of Heaven', 'Dear Lord and Father' and 'I Vow to Thee My Country'.This included Paul White providing a spine-tingling, stunning and musical version of the 'Last Post' and 'Reveille' - an honour to listen to and the best heard by the writer in over 40 years!.

And, as if planned, during the Period of Silence, the Centotaph enjoyed a fly-pass of the largest passenger aircraft in the world coming into land at Birmingham International Airport - an Emirates Airbus A380, hanging in the air, hardly moving despite it's size - I wonder what the passengers felt of their view of the people of Walsall Remembering........................?

 

Then it was 'Slaidburn' back to the Town Hall and the 'British Legion March' for the march past, before the usual after-event drinks.

Perhaps a poem from the First World War brings it home, just what conflict and its aftermath is all about......... and why the poppy is so special:-

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

 

Thanks to all who helped out the Band, especially Paul White for his everlasting performance and thanks to all Staffs players who, once again, put their all in to 'Remembering Them' once again.

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For further information relating to the bands engagements or programmes please e-mail Information@thestaffordshireband.com