Thursday, June 24, 2010

Freedom of the Borough

Today was the big day when the Yorkshire Regiment exercised their freedom to march through the borough with standards flying, band playing and bayonets fixed. Several hundred people had turned out to cheer, to thank them for the job they do and to watch the spectacle.
The men, some looking so young they probably couldn't vote in last month's election, marched along the High Street to the Town Hall where the Mayor inspected the troops and then presented the Freedom Scroll to their commanding officer. He thanked them for the work they do and raised 3 cheers for them from the assembled crowd. The response from their commanding officer spoke of the symbolism of this Freedom parade - not that the bands and bayonets are important but that it shows support for the troops. Whether or not we believe that the war in Afghanistan is justified we respect the men who fight it for us - they do their jobin very difficult circumstances and we respect them for it.
After the parade the troops and the VIPs went off to a reception where I'm told that the soldiers expressed their gratitude and their pleasure at the reception they'd had in Stockton. Others, me included, went off to a Tea Dance. Excellent tea and cake provided by Tees Cuisine, music courtesy of a vast collection of suitable CDs, and a good time was had by all including people in wheelchairs who couldn't get up to dance but could enjoy listening and watching.
Well done all who organised the different bits from the solemn ceremonial to the fun of the dancing - an excellent afternoon and a fitting tribute to the armed forces of the country.

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