Disadvantages Caused by war.
Lets face facts.... before 2001, the market town of Wooton Bassett was a place no one had heard off. Yet things change for a reason and sometimes the human spirit is something that can be considered a leviathan in terms of what it can achieve and what can be achieved, having watched the documentary last night on BBC1 about a small maket town called Wooton Bassett just shows what the human spirit with a little determination in times of death and sadness can come together to produce something that is absolutely extraordinary and certainly a rare thing given the circumstances.Wooton Bassett is a town that is situated to the very north of Wiltshire, in fact its just two miles from Junction 16 of the M4 with a population of less than 12000 people, yet it has been thrown into the media spotlight with regards to repatriation of the home coming troops who have fallen in battle in such places like Iraq or Afghanistan are repatriated. The procession that usually consists of a hearse with a full Police escort leaves RAF Lyneham, where the body is bought into the country by a Hercules C-130, to go to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where the Coroners report is performed upon the body to determine such factors as cause of death and the injuries caused, the journey to the Hospital passes through the town of Wooton Bassett as part of the route. A journey which halts in the town to allow the relatives of the dead to lay flowers on the hearse and say their goodbyes or whatever they feel is necessary at this time; the bottom line is that this can be part of the start of the grieving process that the families have to endure.
Having seen this on TV last night you immediately sense that this is a powerful thing to happen as the town itself has never ever complained about this happening, in fact they deem this as a privilege to be a part of something that has literally grown to involve the entire population of the town and now it has reached the stage where felloe soldiers who are retired or serving appear in the line up along the main high street. The astonishing fact that really surprised me was the simple fact that the town organises this for every soldier that is bought home, so the town has had to adapt and through this evolution the town have their own flag bearers and welcome the families every time that an event of this nature happens. The unification of an event of this nature is a unique occurrence these days, with what seems the prices of everything going up in the world and the politics surrounding the fact that our soldiers are dying with an alarming regularity or the fact they are even under equipped to be there in the first place are questions that are not asked and maybe even not thought at the time as they are all put aside and the focus is the families that are present. The British Legion oversee everything from the start to the finish and with assistance from the Council provide a fitting and most respectful for the home coming to take place and its interesting to note that families will prefer to be in Wooton Bassett rather than the airbase itself, such is the gravity of the town itself.The documentary was powerful and was shot in a manner that was not intrusive and gave a stunning piece from all points of views with little narration being added as the scenes told a story. What was a major impact to me as a viewer was the ambient noise of the town subsiding all of a sudden when the hearse approached the town, everyone just went quiet at a moments notice, and such is the well practised procedure. The peeling of the solitary bell added to the feeling of grief that the documentary projected and this moved me immensely to the point of tears. It also showed the organisers as well, a person acting as a voluntary organiser overseeing the raise and dropping of flags as well as the person who collected the cards from the flowers for cataloguing for future generations to understand the part this town played.
Total unification.With such a culture change happening in such a short time there have been a number of things happening as off shoots to the event happening. Charity events being arranged by the local motorbike club to raise money for Help for Heroes, incidentally the club is The Royal British Legion Riders Branch who attends all repatriations in the town. The logistics is kept simple as all are welcome to attend but are advised that they must adhere to arrangements that have been followed before. The crowds that line the pavements are not just members of the public, as was shown last night the parents of soldiers who have fallen will attend the event and pay respects, like I said before such is the power of repatriation that emanates from Wooton Bassett.
I cannot begin to understand the pressures of the town being literally thrusted into the limelight for some may consider as propaganda, I don’t think this at all as the word privilege is by far underused in this circumstance. The town members have pulled together in the most horrible and sad conditions possible and to give respect of this level is an amazing feat. Personally, having had family in the Armed Forces the thought of a loved one being killed in theatre of war is a truly horrifying thought and at the time when he was in active service when anything in the news mentioned a certain place as a headline then the worry started to set in, and so because of this I will visit Wooton Bassett to participate in one of the repatriation events. The reason is simple as I wish to pay my respects to the fallen.
Unfortunately I have to do this by September as the route is going to be changed away from Wooton Bassett as RAF Lyneham will be closed down as the C-130 will begin to land at RAF Bryze Norton. Whether this will spawn another occurrence of a town coming to a standstill to pay respects is a question that can only be answered in time. I would like to think that a town would as the tradition for this happening should be carried on. By the ay I am totally against any war full stop and I don’t wish to vent my frustrations in any way but I do not agree with the events that led to Iraq, but that is just my personal opinion. I can see why the town do this, yet I am unable to digest why people would be against this happening in the first place, okay I’ve said that the war is not good yet this town has given so much to families and the forces given the part they play as they work closely with the Police and the local authorities to ensure this runs smoothly, again it is not the town that benefits from this it is the families who feel they have the town behind them supporting them in their time of need.
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