Marusia Lawrence, long-time member of Aylesbury Ward lives in a small community on the outskirts of her town.
In 2018 she made a house-to-house collection hoping to raise enough funds to purchase a Silent Soldier (also known as ‘Unknown Tommy’), a black silhouette of a soldier armed with a rifle, which would be displayed permanently in the village. To her delight, these efforts raised enough money for two Silent Soldiers for the special 100 Year Centenary Remembrance Sunday in 2018.
For 2019 she organised a Remembrance Service for November of that year. She felt strongly that there should be a formal start prior to the two-minute silence and asked fellow Church friend – Richard Godivala – to play the ‘Last Post’ on his trumpet, dramatically setting the scene for the rest of the programme.
All neighbours attending were able to sincerely reflect on a reading of ‘In Flanders Field’ by John McCrae (Canadian poet, soldier, and physician, who died in 1918 in France) and then a reading of ‘For The Fallen’, written by Englishman Laurence Binyon in 1914.
One resident shared a family memory about her great uncle in WWI, telling how her great uncle’s mother had received a telegram informing her that her son had been killed while the Armistice bells were ringing out that the War had ended. It was a very poignant moment.
The service finished by singing the National Anthem. Afterwards attendees socialised and talked of their thanks for peace in Europe since 1945, sharing beverages and biscuits at local venue, Cooper’s Barn. Marusia said these quotes made by WWII soldiers truly resonated at this Remembrance Service:
- “For your tomorrow they gave their today”
- “Attitude, gratitude and service before self, brings happiness and fulfilment in life”
- “Brave soldiers laid down their lives for everyone to bring peace into the world”