Last weekend Veterans For Peace organised and attended Remembrance events around the country…
Just a brief report on VfP involvement in the Remembrance Day event at Hexham, Northumberland.
In May, a more sympathetic town council was elected. The council – rather than the RBL – has responsibility for organising the remembrance Day event, which this year was planned and carried out with much less military character.
Wreath-layers were of more varied persuasions than previously, among them myself. I was listed on the programme as acting on behalf of VfP. Preliminary speeches (eg that of the Mayor) included mentions of peaceful aspirations in the future, of national policy as well as for subsequent memorial events.
Conversations within and after the event were encouragingly sympathetic.
At 1100 as the cannon fired we observed a minute’s silence.
After the minutes silence there was a couple of anti-war poems read and a period of reflection.
When everyone was ready we walked in procession to the Garden of Remembrance in the East
Princes Street Gardens at the Scott monument .
When we arrived at the garden of remembrance, we were met with the RBL who were very nice to
us and showed us to the garden and the site of the wreaths.
I laid the wreath and paused for a few minutes then said a few words of remembrance.
We then retired to the pathway for debrief, the supporters were very keen to organise an event next
year to coincide with the main event, but I stated that I and VFP in Scotland would be uneasy to be in
a military setting along with the main event.
We then departed as friends to meet again.
Brad Oliver VFP in Scotland
Before the weekend members of VFP London had already decided to prioritise attendance at Margate on Saturday. So on Sunday 14th of November I went to Whitehall Place without expectation. It was a pleasant surprise to be joined by a group of four supporters; Paul Steel, Helen, Paul’s son Lawrence and David Vincent.
At 1430hrs we walked down Whitehall to lay the VFP Wreath at the Cenotaph. It was surrounded by barriers, with many people looking at the wreaths that had been laid earlier. We asked a group of police if we could lay our wreath, as we normally do on Remembrance Sunday. One of the police, a lady, was very helpful and went to ask her superior. Eventually she told us that one of us could go through the barrier and lay the wreath. She moved a barrier to one side and I went through and laid the wreath at the end of a row of red poppy wreaths, beneath the wreaths laid by the Royal Family.
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Veterans For Peace London headed to Margate to hold a Remembrance Ceremony at the statue April is the Cruellest Month. Speeches were made by the sculptor Michael Rakowitz, Dan Taylor and David Longley.
Dan Taylor who is the subject of the sculpture laid a wreath at the statue, the last post was played and the silence was observed.
We were delighted to be joined by Jo Radcliff, daughter of Veteran For Peace Jim Radford.
Please keep an eye on our mini website for details of our next meeting and our Christmas Party.
On Remembrance Sunday fellow Veterans For Peace in Ireland attended Shannon airport in an ongoing protest at it’s use by the US Military in breach of Irish Neutrality.