Local residents, politicians, and veterans joined together on Friday for an emotional tribute to remember fallen servicemen and women.
The Armistice Day event took place at the West Lane War Memorial in Bermondsey and was lead by the Bishop of Southwark, The Right Reverend Christopher Chessun.
“When you go home, tell them of us and say: For your tomorrow, we gave our today,” Reverend Chessun read to a silent crowd. After several hymns were sung by the crowd, a bugler played the Last Post and subsequently a two minute silence was observed. The moment fell at exactly 1100, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month: the day the “guns fell silent” in 1918.
Following the sobering yet peaceful moment, Neil Coyle, MP led dozens of community members, servicemen and police officers as they laid wreaths made of paper poppies at the foot of the memorial. Dozens of onlookers shed tears as they commemorated all those who sacrificed their lives for their country.
The poppy traditionally functions as the symbol for Remembrance Day. After bodies of WWI soldiers were buried in the fields in Flanders, poppies were the first plant to grow from the soil. Thousands of the brilliant red flower began to bloom and served as a chilling reminder that from death comes a new life. All throughout the Commonwealth, the poppy is worn by those wishing to show their solidarity for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The crowd joined together to sing a haunting version of God Save the Queen before the service concluded and attendees shared food, memories, and laughter at a British Legion gathering.
Reverend Mark Nicholls, from the Diocese of Southwark, was saddened that few young adults were in attendance.
For young people, especially, I think it is important to remember the sacrifices of those who have gone before, so that tomorrow we can wake up and live a safer and more peaceful life. -Reverend Mark Nicholls
The resounding theme was honouring one’s elders. Two of the men in attendance, Jon Benstead and John Roll believed that remembering the fallen was not simply a question of understanding the past, but honouring one’s elders.
What happened all of those years ago cannot be forgotten. The day it does, is the day that your peace is hindered…don’t just remember for our sake, but for yours as well. -John Roll
Benstead believed that young adults, especially University students needed to be “called to action to serve through remembrance.”
We might be a bit weaker, but at least we have our mental faculties still there. We’re the lucky ones. And it’s so good to see the school children here…they’re what motivates ya (sic), but where are the young adults to show they understand the sacrifices made. -Jon Benstead
Neil Coyle, MP echoed the previous John Maxwell Edmonds epitaph:
These were the men that fought yesterday so you could have your today. -Neil Coyle, MP