Every year my dad is invited to the veterans’ memorial day at the National Memorial Aboretum at Alrewas.
The last Saturday in June is usually the armed services memorial day, and the veterans’ memorial day is usually the last Sunday in the month.
For the past 2 years, the poet has accompanied him. But this year, for the first time, I was able to go too.
We had VIP seats only in the second row, and the Lord Mayor of Birmingham was, quite aptly, seated right in front of us.
We arrived ahead of time and bought sandwiches and cakes to eat at our seats, and we took a doggy bag home for Dad too as he couldn’t eat all of his in one sitting – they were very big portions.
For half an hour we were then entertained by “veterans’ sweetheart” Sarah Dennis, who sang for the crowd and had everyone joining in with familiar songs.
Then the standard bearers, representatives of the armed forces and the guard of honour took their positions for the service.
The service didn’t take too long, it was just the right length, and was intermingled with speeches, readings and hymns.
The last post was sounded, followed by a standing observation of silence., then everyone joined in with a few choruses of Land of Hope and Glory, once again led by Sarah Dennis.
We didn’t stay around for the march-past, as it wasn’t happening for a while after the service finished and we needed to get back for the dog.
Also, Dad was a bit tired and didn’t feel up to joining in.
Despite the threat from the sky of a storm, the weather stayed dry and mild for us.
After taking Dad home, we headed back ourselves after having a nice day out.