Remembrance/George Square.

Remembrance Sunday, George Square, Glasgow.

We met up behind the City Chambers, shiny shoes and faces, blazers brushed, ties tied with a schoolboys knot and berets cocked at a rakish angle. Spirits were high! Then we moved off to our first form up position of the day, we were to end up in more positions than a porn queen shooting a DVD boxed set. Up goes a shout, a kiltie dashes out……(You have that tune playing in your head now, don’t you?) He looked as if he knew what he was doing. A man in a kilt has to exude confidence otherwise he just looks like a victim. Someone, somewhere, shouted out the word of command. Hundreds of boots hit the tarmac like a drum roll, ‘rat-a-tat-tat’, we were under starters orders. Suddenly they were all facing the one way, “March”, off they went. Every one of them was in step with someone else, somewhere, at least they were heading in the right direction. Then it was our turn to step off and join the ranks plodding towards the square, we were good at plodding, we fitted right in. Spirits were high! The band reminded us all that it was a long, long way to Tipperary, we weren’t going that far and soon enough we were lined up facing the cenotaph, being squeezed this way and that until we all fitted into the square. Once they got us settled the great and the good filed out and spread themselves into a line of attack facing the monument. The silence was deafening, then the padre piped up to remind us all not to forget. Next a choral chill cut through the crisp morning air, “Last Post”. It served to exaggerate the following silence, two minutes checked with the chirp of birds and slowly the realisation of distant traffic, life goes on. The bugler surreptitiously checked his watch, job done, “The Rouse”. The piper had to be heard, “Flowers of The Forest”. We were off again, chance to shake out the onset of cramp. Next thing we were back on the road, Joe and Josephine public lined the pavement, applauding, glad to see we could still walk, ‘right wheel’, left, right, left, right, “Eyes (Tap Three) Right”, miss the beat, snap the head in that direction, “Eyes (Pause Again) Front”, Tap three, snap and swing. We were on a roll, now the public had something to clap about. Then the formalities were over, into the City Chambers and up the stairs for tea and sticky buns, spirits were high! Far off wars were fought and won again, absent friends remembered. No more to say, enough said already. It was a good day. We can remember all this again next year. Lest we forget!

What do we forget when we remember
What are the stories left untold
What do we think each November
As we march down that glory road
As we march down that gory road

One hundred million
Don’t come home from war
Another eight hundred million
Who lived to bear its scar
Who lived to bear its scar

Lest we forget
What they were dying for
Lest we forget
What they were killing for
Lest we forget
What the hell it was for

What do we forget when we remember…

Owen Griffiths

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