This morning I went to the Rememberance service at the Cenotaph in Newport.
The roads were closed around it and the who's who of the area were there. Paul Flynn (Newport West MP) and Jessica Morden (Newport East MP), the Mayor and obviously various arms of the Forces, the Fire Brigade, Veteran associations and several youth organisations such as the AFC and Scout groups.
Sadly I did not get an Order of Service so I cannot name those who spoke, but there were prayers and poems read with great confidence for the age of some of the readers.
The Last Post was followed by the sounding of a gun which was pointing along the river from its position on Newport Bridge. It was an impressive looking weapon. It certainly made the crowd jump and the local pigeons flee for their lives. It actually felt quite apt that the silence was accompanied by the mad flapping of birds, it somehow seemed to represent the freedom that the whole event is effectively all about - remembering those who fought for freedom. The gun sounded once more to signal the end of the silence and the event moved on to a more musical note.King & Country played, followed by God Save the Queen, which quickly fed into Mae Hen Wlad fy Nadau - which certainly got more singing from the crowd. Unfortunately with England using God Save the Queen for their anthem in the rugby, there is always going to be some reticence in Wales to sing it, even if it is the British anthem.
I don't think there is much better than hearing a military band, with the drums making the air vibrate I always get goosebumps whenever I hear them. When this sound is accompanied by the sight of soldiers, sailors, airmen, cadets, veterans and life saving organisations marching along, it really doesn't get any better.
As they marched away, we took some time to read the wreaths laid down on the Cenotaph and enjoyed being able to look at the monument in a way we normally couldn't i.e. stood in the middle of the road. It was a good feeling to be that close to it and to really notice it. So many people drive past it without thinking about what it represents, it was good to be able to honour it for once.
It was a good event and I was pleased to see so many people there. Well done to the people of Newport for showing the respect that our heroes deserve.