Bury St Edmunds’ long connection with the military showed when the town turned out yesterday for the annual Remembrance Sunday parade and service.
Crowds lined Angel Hill as RAF Honington’s Volunteer Band led the parade of past and present service people, civic dignitaries and the current generation of cadets out for the wreath laying at the town’s war memorial, followed by a march past to a service of remembrance at St Mary’s Church.
There were contingents in the Royal British Legion organised event from RAF Honington and the Army Air Corps’ Wattisham flying station as well as USAF airmen from RAF Mildenhall and Lakenheath.
For the first time, the Honington marching contingent included eight white capped members of 1 (Tactical) Police Squadron who moved here from RAF Henlow in June as part of Number 3 RAF Police Wing.
But if the marching soldiers and airmen looked impressive, the day really belonged to the veterans – the people who had seen service in World War Two and conflicts since, from Korea in the early 1950s to Afghanistan.
Marching with their own medals bright on their left breast, and, perhaps, a relative’s, from an earlier conflict, on the right they showed their determination that ‘we shall remember them’, as the oft quoted verse of Robert Binyon’s poem For the Fallen promised.
These were the people for whom remembrance is not a just worthy concept, but is about real people, the friends and comrades who did not make it back and who may even have died in front of them.
It was those they remembered as the Last Post sounded, the colours were lowered and the bustle of Angel Hill stilled to a rare silence.