Thursday, 11 November 2010

Blast from the Past

Yesterday The 1st Battalion the Mercian Regiment marched through town on their return from deployment in Afghanistan.
We went to support them, whatever I think of the politics of where our Armed Forces serve, I strongly believe in supporting the troops. And having grown up with my Dad a serving Officer there is something about a band and men marching in uniform that calls to me.

Most of the local schools gave us permission to take our children out early, I only had 2 of the 3 as no2 child was on a school trip. We drove into town and did some creative parking, then waded through the crowds to where a group of friends from school were standing.
As is the way of things we were in plenty of time and had to wait anout 30mins for the parade to arrive, there were about 500 soldiers of the Mercian Regiment and also some Gurkhas who had been deployed with them.
Little F was very happy waving her flag and chatting, but Tom was bothered by lack of information, when exactly were they arriving, where were they marching and what was going to happen? One of the primary school teachers had a programme which she lent to us, with loads of useful information in it including a map of the town center with the Parade route marked on it, he was much happier once he knew as much as possible about the situation.
Actually given that it was a big crowd of total strangers behaving in a fairly random way he did really well. I am constantly amazed at how well he manages so many situations that he would have crashed and burnt in a few years ago.
Both children loved the marching and the Band, also that the soldiers all carried guns, much discussion as to whether they were loaded, also the Gurkha soldiers with their Kukri knives on their belts.

I loved the marching and the shouted commands and the precision changes of position.
I'm really glad we went as they deserved to have a big crowd cheering and shouting, The Regiment lost 12 men and over 80 injured, many with lost limbs and some of those injured were there in wheelchairs.
The children looked at the soldiers and saw brave men, I looked and saw boys, other mothers children, and I was reminded of a book I read years ago called "The Gate To Womens Country" by Sheri Tepper.

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