This morning I’ve been at one of Rutland’s many Remembrance Day services, here in Morcott. The sun shone, everyone wore a poppy and I did a fair impersonation of a Chelsea Pensioner by wearing a red coat and black trousers: I just needed a three-cornered hat to complete the picture.
The past and the present armed forces were equally in our thoughts. The past was with us in the list of 10 village men who died in the First and Second World Wars. The roll was called by a member of the Parish Council, who shares the same name as two of those on the list.
Flight Lieutenant Ben Plank, one of the Red Arrows, embodied today’s servicemen and women. He also stood in for his friend Jon Egging, who lived in the village, and lost his life flying with the Red Arrows 15 months ago. We were very glad to have Jon’s wife, Emma, with us too. Ben read the first lesson, from the Book of Micah: “He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away: they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more, but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid…”
So after solemn hymns, a thoughtful Sermon, tears and smiles, we dispersed, some to family roasts, some to walk the dog… And I came home to a stiff gin and tonic, lunch and a rare sunny afternoon on which to plant tulips: a promise for next Spring.