Royal British Legion Kedington – Memorial Garden dedication

It was lovely to have been invited to the dedication of the Legion Hall memorial garden in Kedington today. I arrived 30 mins early giving me the opportunity to chat to folk ahead of the ceremony.

The Royal British Legion do some fantastic work for serving and retired service men and women. I dug out my RAF medal which I had not seen for 28 years, since it was presented to me. In fact, today was the first time I had worn it. Today felt right.

We were treated to the Last Post, Reveille and a one minute silence as well as blessings from Father Chris and a formal address by the Chairman of the branch.

It started spitting with rain at the start of the ceremony and then the heavens opened. Flooded roads and paths.

And of course the exhortation that always brings a tear to my eyes. They shall not grow old …….

I have reproduced the whole poem as we usually only get to hear the 4th verse.

For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal 
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; 
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound, Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, 
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, 
To the end, to the end, they remain.

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