Community unites in respect of fallen heroes
Anyone who was 20 on D-Day is 87 or 88 today, assuming they made it through the rest of the war and survived to the present day. They are certainly elderly and quite probably frail but they were no less proud yesterday, as they made the annual pilgrimage to honor fallen comrades, than they were when they originally embarked on their journey into WWII.
Of course since the second world war there have been many other conflicts involving British Servicemen and The Royal British Legion is now also providing essential care for an increasing number of young veterans. It is also the national custodian for Remembrance, protecting the memory of all those who have fought in all wars or been affected by conflict
Remembrance Sunday is the day traditionally put aside by the British Community to remember, as on this day people across the region pause to reflect on the sacrifices made by the millions of brave Service men and women of all nationalities.
Within the Orihuela Costa those sacrifices were remembered yesterday with a unique celebration of homage, a service held at the Capilla de las Mil Palmeras in the diocese of Pilar de la Horadada, and it was not only members of the Expatriate Community who came out in force to pay their respects. The Service was attended by many representatives of the main towns covered by the Orihuela Costa Branch of the Royal British Legion including Councillors Bob Houliston, Pedro Mancebo and Rosa Martinez from the Orihuela Ayuntamiento.
Representation was also provided by the British Government in the form of the Assistant Consul from Alicante, Lloyd Milen, whilst Chris Wyatt represented the National RBL.
Led by the Spanish National and the Union flags the standards of the collected military associations were borne proudly to represent those who gave their lives, whilst poppies were worn as a reminder to new generations that inevitably face new conflicts. The start of the service had seen them piped into the chapel by Pipe Major Donny Macdiarmid of the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums.
Orihuela Costa Branch Chaplain Keith Brown officiated at the service while, as well as providing a solo, Cathy Carson led the congregation in the hymns. The accompanying music was provided by the Phoenix Band under the Directorship of Ian Vine
Following bugler Pat Steele’s performance of the mournful Last Post, which echoed out of the church and around the park, everyone was united, standing shoulder to shoulder for the two minute's silence. As I looked around the gathered congregation there was more than the occasional tear with members of the congregation using this time to reflect on those friends, family and colleagues who had suffered or died in conflict in the service of their nation.
One particularly emotional moment came when Cathy Carson sang ‘We will remember them’ the popular tribute based on Laurence Binyon’s 1914 poem.
Following the service, the congregation was led out of the church to the Garden of Remembrance for the laying of wreaths and the poppy crosses. All the guests took part with the Branch President, other local military associations and each of the guests laying wreaths of their own.
For members of the host nation this was tied in to the grief many of them suffered during the Spanish Civil War and as the victims of terrorism. In this way the ceremony brought together the common sentiments of all those present to share pride in restoring freedoms. The wreaths were laid to the accompaniment of the Pipes and drums with 'Heroes of Kohima'.
The National Service of Remembrance, also held yesterday at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, was originally conceived as a commemoration of the war dead of the First World War but after the Second World War the scope of the ceremony was extended to focus on the nation's dead of both World Wars, and in 1980 it was widened once again to extend the remembrance to all who have suffered and died in conflict in the service of their country and all those who mourn.