THE TOURISTS murdered on the beach in Tunisia and the Nazi death camp of Belsen were both remembered as Redditch marked Armed Forces Day on Saturday.
In a solemn service retired St Stephen’s vicar Michael Herbert reminded the people crowded around the war memorial of the importance of the armed forces in guaranteeing our freedoms.
Before serving members of the military, the Royal British Legion, assembled town dignitaries, cadets and shoppers, the Rev Herbert told how, after the Second World War, he had doubted the need for the military until he did his national service.
“I was sent to Germany and the first place I arrived at was the place visited yesterday (Friday) by the Queen – Belsen, and there I sat amazed and aghast at what had happened there – it was a cold day, there were no birds singing in the sky, there was absolute silence,” he said.
“And I realised our armed forces were necessary, very necessary, we may have won the battle but we had not won the war, because armed conflict goes on.
“You only have to look at what happened in Tunisia yesterday (Friday) where a great number of people were killed because there is a spirit of evil around, done by people who only want something for themselves with no regard to others, and we have to fight against this evil so that we can all go forward in a spirit of peace and love.”
Earlier the parade had marched from the town hall, led by the drums and glockenspiel of the air cadets and followed by the flags of the Royal British Legion and serving members of the armed forces, to the war memorial.
The Rev Herbert had opened the service by quoting Rupert Brooke’s poem ‘The Soldier’ – ‘If I should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field. That is forever England.’