Killing traditions

On Sunday November 11, 2012, I made my way as usual to Heroes Square for the annual Remembrance Day service. When I arrived with my two sons, aged 11 and seven, we were told that the area we have occupied for at least the last six years was out of bounds. That area remained empty for the duration of the service.

I understand that, having repositioned the covered area where some of the veterans were seated, they did not want us, the general public, too close. We were told we could go across the other side of the street and watch from there.

Now this is where I have a problem. From as long as I can remember, my mother would get us up early on Remembrance Day as well as Independence Day so that we could attend the parades. We loved the pomp and pageantry. I think those parades played an enormous part in moulding me into a fiercely patriotic citizen who understood my rights as well as my responsibilities. I learnt to appreciate the supreme sacrifice of those to whom I owe my freedom.

I have continued the tradition with my children, having already passed through the stage where I took part in those parades. It is true that the attendance at these parades has fallen significantly and I understand that times are changing.

What I do not understand however, is the fact that every year it seems that the faithful few members of the general public are being more and more marginalised. It seems as if, in their efforts to make the invited guests more and more comfortable, the rest of us are pushed further and further away. It seems that it has now become “pomp and peasantry”!

It would be remiss of me, however, if I did not say a big thank you to the police inspector assigned to the lift bridge. He, thankfully, allowed us “peasants” to spread out across the entrance to the bridge so that the children could get a reasonable view of the parade. He merely cautioned that we would have to clear the area when it was time for the march past and we duly complied. Thank you Sir!

— David A. A. Weatherhead

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