Sunday, November 14, 2004


I took part in the Morley act of remembrance today as a Town Councillor. This meant that I joined the parade, got to stand near the Cenotaph during the service and was able to stand on the Town Hall steps where the salute was taken.

I have participated in the Batley equivalent as a Round Tabler the previous two years & it is a very rewarding occasion. Morley has a better setting and PA system, Batley has a more enjoyable march round the town. Batley is also better drilled- the two minutes silence tends to start straight after the clock chimes, today at Morley the Town Hall Clock was chiming whilst prayers were still in progress. It was a little early but it is often a couple of minutes out, being mechanical rather than radio controlled like my wristwatch.

The silence was poigniant, despite a large crowd with lots of children present it instantly muted at the appointed time. Gradually, distant sounds became apparent. The dull roar of the motorway traffic on the M62. A crow cawing. Delicate bird twittering. A very distant sporadic hammering. The grunts & encouragement of sunday league football on distant fields. The occasional cough. As time dragged on, coughs became contagious, the hacks & wheezes seemed to spread to the point where there was always one on the air, quiet but obvious if you listened out for it.

Then the spell was broken. The salvationist who had played The Last Post piped up with Reveille, the standards were raised, the old soldiers saluted and the wreaths were laid whilst we sang the stirring but melancholy hymn "O God, our help in ages past".

I may be a born-again agnostic but I do enjoy Hymns, the old ones are the best.

Afterwards, we were served Coffee in the Town Hall, although it felt more elitist than Batley, no tables out & the public appeared excluded. The Mayor presented our three visiting Gurkhas with commemorative Mugs & badges (with the Town Crest). They looked slightly bemused and I am sure the items will cause much interest when they eventually get taken back to Nepal!

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