On a bright Autumn morning on 11th November, crowds mustered along St. Giles to participate in the Remembrance Day service marking the initiation of the armistice and the end of fighting in the First World War.
The service was led by faith leaders, including the Rev Charlotte Bannister-Parker, Bishop of Oxford Rt Revd Steven Croft, Wendy Fidler of the Jewish Community, Jawaid Malik JP of the Muslim Community, Chinta Kallie of the Hindu Community, Davinder Singh of the Sikh Community, John White of Humanists UK, Br Minlib Dallh O.P. from the Roman Catholic Church and the Rev.d Prof Paul Fiddes of the Free Churches of Oxford.
The ceremony began with an address by the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Colin Cook and consisted of a variety prayers, hymns, music, poetry and speeches paying tribute to the sacrifices of those involved in the war.
Mike Henderson, Vice President of the Oxford City Group of the Royal British Legion read an excerpt from Lawrence Binyon’s poem, “They shall not grow old…”
The crowd joined in intoning the chorus, “We will remember them”.
Following the Act of Remembrance, a bugler sounded the Last Post and a hushed silence fell across St. Giles. Files of troops stood to attention, regimental banners fluttering in the breeze as the amassed people of Oxford were absorbed in two minutes of reflection and contemplation.
The Reveille broke the silence and the service was concluded with some selected hymns, an Act of Commitment led by Tim Stevenson OBE Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire who called on all to “pledge ourselves anew to the service of God and mankind: that we may help, encourage and comfort others, and support those working for the relief of the needy and for the peace and welfare of the nations”.
A rendition of God Save the Queen was sung before members of the public were invited to place their own tributes on the monument at the end of St. Giles.
One member of the crowd told The Oxford Student: “It felt really special to have such a moving ceremony in Oxford”.