Remembrance Sunday is a day for the nation to remember, and to honour those who sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom.
The Mayor’s Chaplain, Rev Canon Martyn Griffiths began the Henley Remembrance Day Service with the Bidding. Brigadier Malcolm Page, President of Henley Branch of Royal British Legion then read from Robert Laurence Binyon’s poem (1869-1943) ‘For the Fallen’:
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.
The service was attended by civic dignitaries, ex-servicemen and women, members of the Royal British Legion, members of local armed forces regular and reserve units, military cadet forces and youth organisations including the Scouts, Guides and the Brownies, as well as families and people from all over the Henley community. Children from local schools also attended, including Rupert House and Trinity CE Primary School.
Two helicopters from RAF Benson made a flypast over the Town Hall before the Last Post was sounded, and Henley observed the two minute silence to remember and honour those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
The Mayor’s Cadet, Harry Ellis, read “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae in line with the Royal British Legion’s re-creation of this poem in seven locations across the UK as a symbol of remembrance and hope.
In the Mayor’s Address, Councillor Kellie Hinton, said, “They gave their today, for our tomorrow”. She talked about the fallen, and the fact that, standing on the Town Hall steps, she was “flanked by two large stone tablets” giving the names of people from Henley-on-Thames who had laid down their lives in the First World War. There is also a further memorial inside the Town Hall doors.
Councillor Kellie Hinton encouraged Henley to support the Royal British Legion, to donate generously and to remember the sacrifices of past heroes. She said it was important for all members of the community – including the young children of our town – to understand the full meaning of Remembrance Sunday. She referred to an event she had attended, which had been organised by Councillor David Eggleton and the Royal British Legion, for local school children in Year 5. The children had been asked what Remembrance means to them. Her address included the emotional poem (below) created at this event, written by children from Sacred Heart School highlighting the word “Remember”
Remember everyone who didn’t see the next sun rise,
Every day we will not forget them,
More people have died than we could ever imagine,
Every year poppies will rise; wear yours with pride,
May we be silent to pray and keep them in our hearts,
Buried in unmarked graves,
Everyone gather on remembrance day,
(To) Remind us of the peace the fallen have brought.
Wreaths of remembrance poppies were laid on the Town Hall steps by civic dignitaries, veterans, members of the community groups, charities and youth organisations. The very well attended service ended with the Remembrance Day Parade around Market Place with the large crowd applauding.