HUNDREDS of people turned out to show their respects to our Armed Forces on Armistice Day as the first column of The Rose was unveiled.
Councillor Mike Barry led The Remembering before the Last Post was played, followed by an impeccably observed two minute silence. City Poet Laureate, Mark Niel then read his specially commissioned poem Tommy, which he read just days after the death of his father.
Mark said: “I am honoured to have had the chance to write this and contribute to this special day. My father was a supporter of the British Legion and today he would have been very proud.”
The project, launched by the Cenotaph Trust, will eventually see 140 pillars placed at the site of the former fountain in Campbell Park, each depicting a separate date of importance for people to visit and reflect upon.
Chairman of the Cenotaph Trust, Councillor Debbie Brock, said: “This was a big day for us. The 11/11/11 seemed so far away and now this date has arrived it’s fantastic. It is so lovely to see people here and for us to enjoy this terrific site for remembrance.”
Mayor of Milton Keynes, Councillor Alan Richards, was on hand to officially unveil the pillar and he called the experience humbling.
He said: “This is an honour for me and I am glad that this historic date happened during my term. I spent 23 years in the infantry battalion and it is a humbling experience to unveil this commemorative pillar.”
One of the special guests on the day was MP for Milton Keynes South, Iain Stewart. He said: “This is the first step for The Rose in what will be a wonderful focal point for the community. It will be a great place of celebration and commemoration.”